1. What is vetting?

Vetting is governed by the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and is conducted by the National Vetting Bureau (the Bureau) on behalf of relevant organisations where the employees/members provide services to children and/or vulnerable persons. The Bureau conducts a search and establishes whether or not there are criminal records and or specified information (see question 12 for more information) matching the personal details provided by the applicant on the vetting application form.

The Teaching Council is the relevant organisation for administering vetting for teachers in Ireland. The result of the vetting search, which is known as the vetting disclosure, is provided to the Teaching Council’s authorised liaison person who then makes it available to the teacher and, where appropriate, the school. The teacher may then share the vetting disclosure with employers/potential employers.

Vetting searches are confined to addresses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, in some cases, records from an overseas jurisdiction may be disclosed.

2. How do the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and the Teaching Council Acts 2001 to 2015 affect the vetting of teachers

Two pieces of legislation have put the vetting requirements for teachers on a statutory basis.

Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016, the National Vetting Bureau (the Bureau) has been established and has replaced the Garda Central Vetting Unit. The Bureau is responsible for issuing vetting disclosures under the Act’s statutory arrangements.

The Teaching Council Acts 2001 to 2015 established the Teaching Council as the relevant statutory organisation for the vetting of teachers in Ireland.                                                            

Section 12 of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 requires that a school authority must not, other than where certain exemptions apply (which are set out at section 5.3 of Department of Education and Skills Circular 0031/2016 ), commence the employment (whether under contract of employment or otherwise) of an employee to undertake relevant work or activities before the school authority receives a vetting disclosure from the Bureau in respect of that person. This requirement applies in respect of all types of appointment of any duration including full time, part time and substitute positions. Failure by an employer to comply with this statutory requirement will be a criminal offence.

Section 7(2)(ba) of the Teaching Council Acts, 2001 to 2015 allows the Teaching Council to obtain or receive vetting disclosures for the purpose of its role as a relevant organisation, i.e., for registration or Fitness to Teach purposes, or for the purpose of its role as a relevant organisation representing another relevant organisation, i.e., school employers, for the purposes of the vetting procedures under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.

3. How do I apply for vetting?

You must apply for vetting via the Teaching Council, which is the relevant organisation responsible for administering vetting for teachers in Ireland. The vetting application process consists of a number of steps, which are explained in the Guide to Applying for Vetting.

4. How do I know if I need to be vetted?

Every teacher requires vetting for registration with the Teaching Council and for new employment in a school.

Registration

Teachers applying for registration are required to be vetted as part of the requisite to be a fit and proper person to be admitted to the register as set out in the Teaching Council Acts 2001 to 2015 (as amended) [link] under section 31(5A) and (5B), and section 9.1(b) and section 13 of the Teaching Council [Registration] Regulations 2016.

Employment

The requirements for teachers applying for vetting for reasons of employment are set out in Department of Education and Skills Circular Letter 0031/2016 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.

Retrospective Vetting

Registered teachers who have never previously been vetted through the Teaching Council must apply for vetting as part of their registration renewal process. The Teaching Council are facilitating the retrospective vetting of teachers, which will be carried out as part of teacher's registration renewal process in accordance with Section 33 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015. Further information on Retrospective Vetting is available here.

5. Can I start work with a new employer before I receive my vetting disclosure?

Vetting requirements for employment purposes are outlined in section 5 of the Department of Education and Skills Circular 0031/2016.

6. I am a registered teacher. I was previously vetted through the Garda Central Vetting Unit. I am seeking/undertaking new employment. Is my vetting result valid under the NVB Act?

Section 5.3b of Department of Education and Skills Circular 0031/2016 states that there is no requirement under the National Vetting Bureau Act for a school authority to obtain a vetting disclosure from the Bureau in the case of registered teachers who had provided the school authority with a Teaching Council vetting outcome letter prior to 29 April 2016.

As this exemption is primarily concerned with cases where GCVU vetting information is requested and received as part of recruitment processes that are underway but not fully completed at the time the Act is commenced (29 April 2016), it will only be relevant for a short period. You should monitor the Department of Education and Skills website www.education.ie for further information in relation to vetting requirements for employment purposes.

7. What information is revealed on a vetting disclosure?

National Vetting Bureau (NVB) disclosures are categorized in two ways: Nil disclosures and Trace disclosures.

The Nil vetting disclosures includes:

  • a statement that there is no criminal record or specified information in relation to the person. (see Q.12 for more information on Specified Information)

The (Trace) vetting disclosure includes:

  • particulars of the criminal record (if any) relating to the person, and a statement of the specified information (if any) relating to the person, which the Chief Bureau Officer has determined should be disclosed in accordance with section 15 of the NVB Act.

Certain minor convictions which occurred more than seven years ago and which are deemed spent in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act, 2016 may not be disclosed. (Please see Q16 for more information).

Where appropriate the Teaching Council decides on the relevance of any disclosure made by the Bureau to the teacher’s suitability for registration. The Council’s Evidence of Character Panel assesses such disclosures in the case of persons applying for registration and for registered teachers. Please see Q.18 for further information on the Evidence of Character Process.

8. How long does vetting take?

The vetting application process consists of a number of steps, which are explained in the Guide to Applying for Vetting

Currently we are experiencing high volumes of applications for vetting. Teachers should wait at least 10 working days from the day they posted their Vetting Invitation Form before contacting the Council to check the status of their application. On receipt of correctly completed forms with the required certified copies of identification the process should take approximately four weeks.

9. How will I receive my vetting disclosure (result)?

You will be notified (via the email address that you used for applying for vetting) that your vetting disclosure is available for viewing. Disclosures are issued to teachers through an online system called Digitary. See question 13 for more information on Digitary.

10. How long is vetting valid for?

All teachers taking up new employment in a school for the first time are required to be vetted by the National Vetting Bureau. The length of time a National Vetting Bureau disclosure will be valid will be a matter for your employer to determine.