Commencement of National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and Launch of eVetting System.
The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) was established in 2005 and at that time managed approximately 1,000 vetting applications per annum. Since then the annual turnover of vetting applications has increased exponentially and in 2015 the GCVU processed over 350,000 applications, or approximately 30,000 applications per month
This increase demonstrates that vetting is fully established and embedded as a valuable tool in the protection of children and vulnerable persons.
Following the allocation of extra resources in 2013, the GCVU has effectively reduced its turnaround times from 19 weeks to its current turnaround time of within 4 weeks. Indeed, the majority of applications are processed well within that time. The GCVU has expanded from a staff of 90 persons to a staff of 180 working out of 5 separate units at Thurles, Enniscorthy, Waterford, Ennis and Tipperary Town. The GCVU is the single point of contact within An Garda Síochána to conduct Garda Vetting. Garda vetting is conducted in respect of individuals predicated on the written consent of that individual. It is conducted solely on behalf of registered organisations and is not conducted for individual persons on a personal basis.
Over the years the GCVU has established an excellent partnership with over 20,000 organisations for which it conducts vetting.
Commencement of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016:
The commencement of the Act will continue to support the administrative processes for vetting which have been in place for over a decade. However, while process will remain the same there are a number of significant changes following commencement of the Act as follows:
Following the commencement of the National Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to 2016 on the 29th April 2016, (referred to as the Act) the GCVU will change its name to the National Vetting Bureau.
The Act will place the vetting process on a statutory footing and will make it a statutory requirement for all organisations conducting relevant work with children and vulnerable persons to vet their prospective employees/volunteers prior to their commencing relevant work.
In addition, the Act allows for the disclosure of specified information, i.e. information concerning an allegation of harm to a child or vulnerable person which might reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that that person may harm attempt to harm a child or vulnerable person. The Act sets out an independent appeal process in relation to the disclosure of specified information.
Furthermore the Act puts in place requirements regarding retrospective vetting of staff that are currently employed in relevant work but have never received vetting.
To coincide with the commencement of the National Vetting Bureau Act An Garda Siochana will go live with a new eVetting system which will allow members of the public to apply on line for vetting.
Vetting is required by a prospective employer of an employee and in this respect an individual cannot apply directly to the National Vetting Bureau for vetting. Rather, they are invited by the organisation to make a vetting application through them.
The eVetting system will allow for greater accuracy and speed in the processing of vetting forms and most importantly, will allow the vetting applicant to track the progress of their vetting form through the system. The system also provides supports to organisation to manage the process in a more streamlined and efficient way.
The eVetting system has been developed over a two year timeframe. The GCU conducted an intensive consultative process with a pilot group, representative of small and large organisations, in the development and design of the system. The system is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of organisations.
In the past two years the GCVU met with the Liaison Persons of all registered organisations to fully brief them on the requriements of the Act and the processes of the new eVetting system.
The system will go live on the 29th April and it is expected that over 80% of organisations will be on line by September 2016. The National Vetting Bureau recognises that not all organisations will be able to avail of the benefits of the online system immediately and will continue to provide a paper based application system to support these organisations until such time as they are ready to go online.
Further information on the National Vetting Bureau Act and the eVetting System can be accessed through this page on www.garda.ie and at Locall 1890488488.
Benefits of using eVetting:
There are significant benefits for applicants and organisations to using the eVetting system as follows:
Most notably, the online system will allow significantly quicker turnaround times for organisations and vetting subjects. eVetting removes days from the process previously lost to postage and data entry.
The accuracy of data in the system will be significantly improved as interpretation of handwritten applications will be removed from the system. The wizard format of the application will ensure that all necessary fields will be completed, removing the burden on Liaison Persons to return incomplete applications.
Automated validation is built into the application. This will further ensure that applications are completed fully and accurately.
Confirmation of receipt of an application:
An email from the National Vetting Bureau will issue to the vetting subject and the Relevant Organisation confirming that we have received a Garda Vetting application.
A suite of metrics will be available to registered organisations to measure requirements such as the number of applications at invitation stage, for review, with NVB, in progress, completed, disclosed, rejected, terminated etc. Organisations will also be able to gauge how many applications are coming into them.
Using the unique identifier the organisation will be able to isolate and trace the progress of any application.
A vetting subject will be able to trace the progress of their own application, removing the need for them to contact the organisation with a query regarding their application status.