Garda Vetting Policy

Garda Vetting Policy

Guidelines on Developing a Garda Vetting Policy

As a member of Early Childhood Ireland we act as the Liaison Person between your setting/organisation and the National Vetting Bureau.

Every early learning and care setting must have a Garda Vetting Policy under their Recruitment Policy, which outlines the Garda vetting procedure taken for each new employee, for re-vetting and for dealing with Garda vetting disclosures.

Nominate Garda Vetting Contact Person

Each setting/organisation will nominate a Garda Vetting Contact Person, this can be the owner/manager/ administrator etc. The Nominated Garda Vetting Contact Person is registered under the organisation’s membership number with Early Childhood Ireland. It is their role to manage all Garda vetting applications submitted by the organisation.

Dealing with a negative disclosure

After the appropriate recruitment and interview process has taken place and the organisation has submitted the Garda vetting application, if there is a negative disclosure returned by the National Vetting Bureau the following policy should apply.

Appoint a Decision Maker/ Decision Making Committee

A decision maker/ decision making committee can be a senior member of staff or members of the interview panel.

  • The Decision Maker/Decision Making Committee will assess the suitability of applicants for positions within the Organisation regarding any Garda vetting disclosures that may be received in respect of them.
  • Include some details of your decision making process. Are there any categories of convictions that would automatically disqualify an applicant from filling a position in the organisation? If so, list them.
  • If a disclosure does not automatically disqualify the applicant but raises doubts or concerns about the staff member’s suitability, it will be considered by the decision maker/makers. The decision on accepting or rejecting an applicant following a negative disclosure will be made by the decision maker/makers taking account of the nature of the disclosure, the circumstances surrounding it (to the extent that they may be known) and an assessment of the risk factors. The details of the disclosure will be verified with the applicant, who may be requested to provide further details relating to the incident(s) pertaining. Where an applicant disputes the accuracy of any detail contained in their Garda vetting disclosure, please contact the liaison person in Early Childhood Ireland.

Areas for Consideration after a negative disclosure
The disclosure needs to be assessed in relation to the applicant’s intended role within the organisation/setting. The following points will be considered:

  • The seriousness or nature of any offence and its relevance to being an employee or volunteer.
  • The length of time since the offence occurred.
  • The number and frequency of any convictions.
  • Any relevant information offered by the applicant about the circumstances, for example influence of domestic or financial difficulties.
  • The self-disclosure of the conviction/prosecution or pending conviction or prosecution by the applicant.
  • Whether the offence was a one-off or part of a history of offending.
  • Whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offence took place.
  • Serious road traffic offences such as drunk driving, dangerous driving, hit and run, no insurance and car theft.
  • The degree of remorse, and motivation for change, expressed by the individual, if this information is provided
  • The references received.
  • Any other relevant information

Some points the decision makers may also take into account include:

  • Does the role involve one-to-one contact with children in an unsupervised position?
  • Will the nature of the role provide the applicant with any opportunity to re-offend?

The answers to these questions, and information collected from the references, will allow the decision maker to recommend whether the disclosed information permits the appointment, and if so the appointment can be made with or without restrictions.

Assessing Disclosures

The decision maker/makers will assess the information provided by the disclosure process, and will make a recommendation on whether or not the applicant should be appointed. If disclosures have been received, the decision maker will request in writing that the applicant furnish further information on these disclosures or attend a meeting to discuss these disclosures and the circumstances surrounding them.

The function of this meeting is to gain more information from the applicant for the decision maker in order to assess the disclosures. Where such a meeting or written statement is not provided, the decision maker will assess the application on the information available to them. The decision maker will have three options open to them:

Appointment Approved: If after reviewing all the available information the decision maker is confident that the applicant is able to work within the organisation/setting, then the remainder of the recruitment process should be followed in the usual way and the appointment confirmed.

Restricted Appointment: After reviewing all the available information, the decision maker may feel that the applicant is suitable to work with the organisation, but should avoid any areas where there may be an opportunity to re-offend. For example, a person with a recent conviction involving drink driving could be issued with a restricted appointment excluding them from driving children on trips or school collections. If an application for the applicant position is accepted subject to any restrictions, the acceptance and terms of the restrictions should be confirmed in writing to the employee.

Appointment Denied: If after reviewing all the available information, the decision maker/ makers may feel that the application should be denied, the applicant should be informed of this in writing.

Throughout the procedure it is important that the applicant is kept informed and that the information provided is kept confidential to those directly involved in the process. The applicant will then be notified in writing on the final decision made by the decision maker.

Commitment to Fairness:  All decision makers must in all cases behave without malice, and in every event must act fairly. They are entitled to reach a decision on the basis of the information before them, but may ask the prospective employee for additional information.

The Garda Vetting Policy should also include the following:

The Garda Vetting Process

In the job advertisement it will be stated that successful applicants will be required to carry out e-vetting through Early Childhood Ireland (via the early learning and care or school age childcare setting) and the National Vetting Bureau of the Garda Síochána. Completed Garda vetting is necessary before any employee starts work in the early learning and care setting under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.

How often employees will be re-vetted.

The Early Years Quality and Regulatory Framework and best practice recommends that you have your employees re-vetted every three years. The re-vetting process is the same as the Garda vetting process and is a free service for all Early Childhood Ireland members.

Police vetting requirements for people who have lived outside of Ireland for more than six months

If an applicant has resided in countries outside of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for a period of 6 months or more, it will be mandatory for them to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from those countries stating that they have no convictions recorded against them while residing there.  They will need to provide a separate Police Clearance Certificate for each country they have resided in. 

How you will retain and store employees Garda vetting data in line with Data Protection Legislation and Tusla:  
Record in relation to a Pre-School Service: Regulation 16(2)(a) References, Garda Vetting, Police Vetting. 5 years after the person starts working in the service. Includes current staff and staff who are no longer working in the service.

This is a guidance document only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. It is a requirement of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 that those working as an employee/board member of an organisation that is wholly or mainly for children are Garda Vetted.  It is good practice that all Early Years settings develop their own Garda Vetting Policy for use in their organisation.