Please note: the current processing time for applications at the Garda Central Vetting Unit is 3-4 weeks.
In 2007, Create was invited to register with the Garda Central Vetting Unit to provide vetting in the arts. Since 2008, we have provided a vetting service for artists and cultural employers for activities that involve access to or contact with children and/or vulnerable adults, whether on a full-time, part-time, and/or student placement basis (paid or unpaid).
Currently, Garda vetting is made available in Ireland on a voluntary basis. Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012, when it is commenced by the Minister, organisations which ‘permit or arrange work or activities a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to or contact with children or vulnerable persons will not be permitted to do so without vetting’. As well as making vetting compulsory, the Act will establish new procedures for vetting and significant sanctions for failing to comply.
The Garda Central Vetting Unit has informed us that a number of amendments to the Act require finalisation and the Vetting Act is not now likely to commence until later in 2015. Create is continuing to work with the Vetting Unit towards an early commencement date. We expect to become one of the first organisations to introduce a new e-Vetting solution, which will automate the application process resulting in faster turnaround times and eliminate much of the paperwork. To support e-Vetting, Create will be introducing a new service level agreement for service users and, to facilitate this process, we may have to restrict the availability of the service at times throughout the year.
The Vetting Act 2012 forms part of a suite of legislation in the pipeline, elements of which are being introduced immediately. In March 2014, the Minister for Justice and Equality brought forward an important administrative change to Garda vetting whereby certain categories of offences will no longer be disclosed. All applications received from the 31 March 2014 onwards are subject to this administrative filter, on an interim basis pending the commencement of the 2012 Act.
In line with this change, a revised vetting application form has been issued. Employers affiliated to Create’s Garda vetting service are being issued with a new application form. Applications received on the old forms will not be accepted and will be returned by the Vetting Unit after 27 June 2014.
The purpose of the administrative filter is to allow a more balanced, relevant and proportionate approach to disclosures, as follows:
A. Criminal Convictions to be disclosed in all cases
1) Offences Against the Person
2) Sexual Offences
3) Convictions on indictment (Circuit or Central Criminal Court)
B. District Court Convictions which will not be disclosed
1) Motoring offences after 7 years
2) Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 offences after 7 years
3) Other minor offences (one only) after 7 years where the person has only one offence, excluding motoring or public order offences (not offences against the person and sexual offences)
C. Probation Act Provisions
District Court judgments under section 1(1) (Probation Act, 1907) will not be disclosed except where they give rise to a bona fide concern of possible harm to a child or vulnerable person. Offences under Section 1(2) (Probation Act, 1907) will be disclosed in all cases (i.e. convictions on indictment).
D. Offences in respect of which a person is charged but subsequently not prosecuted or acquitted
Non convictions will be considered for disclosure where disclosure is considered by the GCVU as necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of children or vulnerable persons. The GCVU will not issue a vetting disclosure until its notification and appeal process has been completed.
There is a close relationship between the Vetting Act 2012, the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2014, and the Spent Convictions Bill 2014. Any changes to the Vetting Act 2012 that are required will be done via the Spent Convictions Bill 2014. We now expect the Vetting Act 2012 to be implemented sometime in the second half of 2015.
In April 2014, the Government published the revised Children First Bill 2014, which applies to recreational, cultural and other services including the arts. There is already a requirement on organisations to comply with best practice in child protection, as set out in Children First, and the Bill introduces a requirement to produce an organisational-specific Child Safeguarding Statement. It is expected that the Children First Bill will become law during 2015.
To date, Create has facilitated literally hundreds of arts and cultural employers - resource organisations, venues, arts offices, commissioning bodies, programmers, curators, producers, communities, education and schools/academies – as well as individual artists and freelance arts professionals - by providing access to Garda vetting and supporting them through the process.
Under a strict Code of Practice agreed with the Garda Central Vetting Unit, Create’s Authorised Signatory processes vetting applications, manages correspondence and certifies the results. Create can also offer support in developing vetting policies and practices and maintains a strong relationship with the Vetting Unit to keep up to date on important issues.
To access Garda vetting through Create, you must be an associate or member. To join, click here.
Employers, and individual artists, should refer to the outline of Create’s Vetting Service, which explains how the service operates.
For general enquiries about vetting, please email info [at] create-ireland.ie