Vetting

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. What is re-vetting?

Re-vetting is the process by which the Council will require teachers previously vetted under the former Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) process to apply for an updated vetting.

Teachers who do not hold a National Vetting Bureau (NVB) Disclosure, as they were vetted prior to the establishment of the NVB on 29 April 2016, will be issued re-vetting requests over the coming months.

Re-vetting will be carried out as part of teacher’s registration renewal process in accordance with Section 33 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015.

Teachers who are issued re-vetting notices should comply with the notices within the specified timeframe given in the notice in order to be eligible to renew their registration.

3. What is the relevant legislation with regard to vetting and re-vetting?

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.

See Vetting Legislation and Circulars for more information on vetting for registration and for renewal of registration (re-vetting).

      

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

Every teacher requires a National Vetting Bureau (NVB) Disclosure. This may be for

  • registration with the Teaching Council
  • for renewal of registration (re-vetting)
  • 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) under section 31(5A) and (5B), and section 9.1(b) and section 13 of the Teaching Council [Registration] Regulations 2016.

Renewal of Registration Re-vetting

All registered teachers who have been vetted through the Teaching Council will have been issued with either a Teaching Council GCVU vetting result letter (prior to 29 April 2016) or a National Vetting Bureau Disclosure (after 29 April 2016).

Teachers who hold the older GCVU vetting result, which was issued prior to 29 April 2016, will be required to update their vetting to a NVB Disclosure.

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.

Registered teachers can check their vetting details by logging in to view /change their registration details using a password at the link here. Once successfully logged in, the most recent vetting information held by the Teaching Council is available to view under the 'Vetting Details' option.

Teachers who hold a NVB Vetting Disclosure are not included in the current re-vetting project. They will have a:

  • Vetting Clearance dated after 29 April 2016 with
  • Vetting Clearance Reference beginning with TEC

                                                          NVB Vetting Disclosure

NVB Vetting

Teachers who were vetted prior to the establishment of the NVB will have a vetting clearance in the format 06/0000 to 16/00000.

                                            GCVU Vetting Disclosure

GCVU Eng Vetting

5. I have a NVB Vetting disclosure issued through another organisation. Will I have to undergo re-vetting as part of my registration renewal?

Yes. The Council cannot accept vetting undertaken by a third party. Only vetting via the Council can be accepted for registration renewal. As part of the registration renewal process, the Council is re-vetting all teachers who were vetted prior to the establishment of the National Vetting Bureau on 29 April 2016.

As such, the Council is using its own records in order to assess which teachers have a re-vetting requirement. For registration renewal purposes you must comply with a vetting request from the Council.

6. How will I know when I have to commence the re-vetting process?

The Council will write to each of the registered teachers who do not hold a NVB Vetting disclosure. Letters will be issued on a phased basis to the teachers concerned in advance of their registration renewal date. Some teachers will receive their notice early in the project e.g. October 2018, while others will not be contacted until later e.g. February 2019. The timing will depend on the teachers' registration renewal date and the Council's schedule.

You must apply for vetting when requested in order to renew your registration. Failure to comply with the requirement to be re-vetted may mean that your registration will not be renewed and that you will lapse from the register. This would mean that you would not be eligible to receive a salary paid by the State.

7. Will I be able to renew my registration if I do not comply with a re-vetting notice?

No. Failure to apply for re-vetting when requested may mean that your registration is not renewed and that you are removed from the register. Only teachers who have a current registration status with the Teaching Council are eligible to receive a salary paid by the State.

8. Can I renew my registration if my re-vetting disclosure is not back from the NVB prior to my renewal date?

Yes. Teachers who are issued a re-vetting notice and who complete the two part vetting application process will be deemed compliant with re-vetting and will be eligible to pay their annual registration renewal fee in order to remain on the Register of Teachers.

Where a Vetting Disclosure is returned by the National Vetting Bureau after a teacher's renewal date, their registration renewal will be subject to the approval of the Council.

Where a conviction/ specified information is returned, renewal will be subject to the approval of the Council's Evidence of Character Panel.

Registration renewal will not be deemed valid until the Disclosure is returned and processed by the Council.

9. Can I postpone being re-vetted?

No. You will be notified by post when you are required to apply.

10. I am on a career break/ going on career break during 2018 or 2019; Do I still need to be re-vetted?

Yes. Regardless of their employment situation, all registered teachers wishing to remain on the Register must comply with the Council's re-vetting request. You must apply for vetting when requested to do so in order to renew your registration. Failure to apply for vetting when requested may mean that your registration is not renewed, and that you are removed from the Register. Only teachers who have a current registration status with the Teaching Council are eligible to receive a salary paid by the State.

11. I'm retiring during 2019; do I still need to be re-vetted?

Please note that if you are retiring during the summer months that you must be on the Register up to your retirement date as otherwise your salary will stop. All registered teachers wishing to remain on the Register must comply with the Council’s re-vetting request.

You must apply for vetting when requested to do so in order to renew your registration. Failure to apply for vetting when requested may mean that your registration is not renewed, and that you are removed from the Register. Only teachers who have a current registration status with the Teaching Council are eligible to receive a salary paid by the State.

Pension payments do not require a retired teacher to be registered with the Council.

12. I am a registered teacher who does not hold a NVB vetting disclosure. I may apply for promotion or move to another school this year. Should I wait for the Teaching Council to invite me to apply to re-vetting?

No. The requirements for vetting under Circular 0031/2016 will continue to apply for all teachers who are changing employment. The Teaching Council will continue to operate its standard vetting procedures for registration and for those commencing and changing employment.

13. What is a disclosure?

All outcomes of the vetting process are called ‘Disclosure’.

National Vetting Bureau (NVB) disclosures are categorised 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.18 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 Q.20 for more information).

14. Do I need to have an email address to complete the vetting process?

Yes. The National Vetting Bureau has devised an e-vetting (on-line) solution to ensure speed and accuracy in the vetting process. An email address is a requirement to undertake vetting.

15. I have changed my email address in recent months, how can I update my details?

Registered teachers can update their contact details by logging on to My Registration section of the Teaching Council website www.teachingcouncil.ie.

16. I notice a requirement to provide all of my addresses from birth on my vetting application form. I cannot remember the exact details of where I have lived, is this information necessary?

Yes. It is a legal requirement to provide the National Vetting Bureau with a list of your addresses since birth in order for their record search to be undertaken in the correct manner. Any gaps in your address history will cause delays and other potential issues with your vetting application. Where it is not possible to provide full information, please provide as much information as possible.

17. I have received an email link from the NVB requiring me to provide all of my addresses from birth. How much time do I have to complete this form?

The Council will write to each of the registered teachers who do not hold a NVB vetting disclosure to inform them of the requirement to be vetted and a specific timeframe within which they must complete both stages of the application process.

While an email link to the National Vetting Bureau website may remain active for 30 days, this is the Bureau's system timeframe not the Council's timeframe. You are asked to complete this step of the process immediately in order to adhere with Council specified timeframes.

You must apply for vetting when requested to do so and within the timeframe specified by the Council in order to renew your registration. Failure to comply with the requirement to be vetted may mean that your registration will not be renewed and that you will be removed from the register. This would mean that you would not be eligible to receive a salary paid by the State.

18. 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

Due to the high volumes of vetting applications being processed at present, the average turnaround time for processing has increased to approximately 4 weeks. It is not possible for the Council to provide status updates for stage 1 of the process, however, once you have completed step two, you can track your application on the NVB website.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. I am applying for registration and I have lived overseas for more than three years (36 months) after the age of 18. Does vetting cover overseas addresses? 

The National Vetting Bureau currently undertakes vetting on addresses in Ireland and Northern Ireland only. As you are applying for registration and have lived overseas after the age of 18 for a cumulative period of three years (36 months) you must provide a certified copy of police clearance for each country in which you have resided. Certificates must cover the entire period of residence in each country.

Overseas documentation requirements

Registered teachers are not required to provide overseas police clearance certificates as part of the vetting process.

22. Do I need to provide overseas police clearance as I am a registered teacher who has lived overseas for more than three years?

No, you are not required to provide police clearance for your period of overseas as you are a registered teacher. The requirement to provide overseas police clearance applies to teachers applying for initial registration only.

23. What does specified (soft) information mean?

Specified information means information concerning a finding or allegation of harm to another person, which has been recorded by the National Vetting Bureau following an investigation by An Garda Síochána, TUSLA (the Child and Family Agency), the HSE or another specified organisation. The process for the disclosure of specified information by the National Vetting Bureau to the Teaching Council for registration purposes and the school employer for employment purposes is set out in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016. The Chief Bureau Officer must be satisfied that the disclosure is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances in order to protect children and vulnerable adults.

The vetting applicant is informed by the National Vetting Bureau of the intention to disclose specified information and has the right to appeal the disclosure to the National Vetting Bureau in accordance with legislative procedures.  

24. Is the Teaching Council required to notify specified information to the National Vetting Bureau?

As a scheduled organisation the Teaching Council is required, according to Section 19 of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 to notify specified information to the National Vetting Bureau, where, following an investigation, inquiry or regulatory process it has a genuine concern that the person who is the subject of that investigation, inquiry or regulatory process, may—

(a) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(b) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(c) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(d) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(e) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person,

The person concerned is informed by the Teaching Council of the fact of the genuine concern and of the Council’s intention to notify the Bureau of it.

Please see the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 for further information on Section 19 of that Act.

25. What is the Teaching Council's secure online vetting facility (Digitary)?

The Teaching Council will issue your vetting disclosure (vetting result) through a secure online portal provided by a company called Digitary. Digitary is a web-based solution that enables institutions to securely issue official documents online.

Teachers can access their vetting result via a secure web portal. From there, they can share the vetting result online with third parties in a controlled and audited manner. The third parties (e.g., the employer), can authenticate shared documents with the permission of the document owner, i.e., the teacher. This facility enables the Teaching Council to:-

  • issue secure, authentic electronic documents
  • provide a secure electronic platform to allow you to share your vetting result with third parties and
  • have 24/7 access to your vetting result.

The online solution is a highly secure, interoperable and extensible electronic document solution. It uses XML Advanced Electronic Signatures (XAdES) and FIPS 140-3 level 3 certified cryptographic tokens to produce Qualified Electronic Signatures under the EU Digital Signature Directive 1999/EC/93.

Further information on the online solution is available here.

26. Can I refuse to be vetted? 

At present you must be vetted in the following circumstances:-

When applying for registration with the Teaching Council or;

taking up employment in a school in which you have not previously been employed.

Registered teachers who have never previously been vetted through the Teaching Council must apply for vetting as part of their registration renewal process when requested to do so by the Council. Only teachers who have a current registration status with the Teaching Council are eligible to receive a salary paid by the State. Further information on Re-vetting is available here.

27. Is there a fee for vetting?

There is no fee for vetting.

28. Do I have to disclose all convictions?

Where an application for a vetting disclosure is being submitted to the Bureau you are required to provide details of all convictions as part of the application, except for convictions to which section 14A of the NVB Acts applies. More information can be found here. If you are unsure of your standing in relation to a particular offence please seek the appropriate legal advice.

29. On whose behalf does the Teaching Council apply for vetting?

When an individual is seeking vetting for the purposes of registration, the Council applies for vetting on its own behalf with the consent of the teacher/applicant.

If an individual is seeking vetting for employment purposes the Teaching Council applies for vetting in its role as a ‘relevant organisation’ on behalf of a recognised school/employer with the consent of the teacher for the purposes of the vetting procedures under the National Vetting Bureau Act. This means that the Council must make the vetting disclosure available to the school/employer on request.

30. Will the Council provide the disclosure directly to my employer?

No, under Section 33 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015, the Council may provide your employer with the information contained in the vetting disclosure only in cases where the information received from the NVB gives rise to a bona fide concern of harm to a child or vulnerable person. Teachers may wish to share their vetting disclosure with their school employer(s) when they have completed the vetting process.

31. Will offences revealed on my disclosure affect my status as a registered teacher?

As part of the registration renewal process, the Council is obliged by law to review all disclosures returned by the National Vetting Bureau for the purpose of satisfying itself that the registered teacher is a fit and proper person to have his or her registration renewed.

The Teaching Council's Evidence of Character Panel is responsible for making fit and proper person assessments for applicants for initial registration and for renewal of registration (re-vetting).

Please see Q. 32 for more information on the fit and proper person assessment process.

Please see Q. 33 for more information on suspension from the register

  • The Council may having regard to the information contained in the disclosure of a registered teacher, who has requested vetting for employment purposes, assess and consider that information under Part 5 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001 to 2012.

32. What is the "Fit and Proper Person" assessment process?

The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for teaching that promotes and regulates the teaching profession. It acts in the interest of the public good while upholding and enhancing the reputation of the teaching profession.

Section 31 of the Teaching Council Acts, 2001-2015 sets out the conditions for admission of new-entrant teachers to the Register of Teachers. The Council must be satisfied that a person is a fit and proper person to be admitted to the register and may seek a vetting disclosure, submissions, documentary and other evidence from the applicant.

Section 33 of the Teaching Council Acts, 2001-2015 sets out the requirements to be met for renewal of registration. The Council may seek a vetting disclosure, submissions, documentary and other evidence to enable the Council to satisfy itself that a registered teacher is a fit and proper person to have his or her registration renewed.

The Teaching Council's Evidence of Character Panel is responsible for making fit and proper person assessments. Where the Panel refuses to register an applicant for registration or to renew a teacher’s registration, or imposes conditions on the applicant's / teacher’s  registration, the applicant / teacher may request the Registration Committee Review Group to review the decision of the Panel.

The Teaching Council has put in place the following documents to assist the Evidence of Character Panel and the Review Group when making fit and proper assessments.

33. Under what circumstance can a teacher be suspended from the register?

The Council, may having regard to the information contained in the vetting disclosure of a registered teacher where it is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so, apply to the High Court under section 47 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015 for an order that during the period specified in the order, his/her registration shall be suspended.