The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, has announced that the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 is being commenced from 29 April 2016. The Acts provide a statutory basis for the vetting of persons carrying out relevant work with children or vulnerable persons. The Act also creates offences and penalties for persons who fail to comply with its provisions.
The former Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’ Sullivan commented:
“Garda vetting is an important element of the state’s child protection architecture and helps ensure that those who are known to be a risk to children or vulnerable persons are not employed or engaged by schools or other relevant organisations to work with children or vulnerable persons. I very much welcome that the arrangements for Garda vetting are now being given a statutory basis.”
The former Minister announced that her Department has published Circular 0031/2016 Commencement of Statutory Requirements for Garda Vetting which outlines the statutory requirements that will apply to school authorities from 29 April 2016 along with the practical arrangements that will be in place to support statutory vetting. An FAQ document to assist schools with queries in relation to the circular has also been published.
The former Minister also announced that she signed a commencement order in respect of those provisions of the Teaching Council Amendment Act 2015 which give statutory underpinning to the role of the Teaching Council in the statutory vetting arrangements for registered teachers.
Commenting on its website on the commencement of statutory vetting, the Teaching Council says
“Over the coming weeks the Teaching Council will be concentrating on completing the vetting of newly qualified teachers and teachers who are moving to new employment in schools where their previous Garda vetting letter is not on file. Teachers who submitted GV02 forms last summer will also be prioritised. In general, teachers who are remaining in their current employment will not be required to undertake the new vetting process in the immediate future.”