Thursday, 23 February 2012
Department of Education and Skills
Garda Vetting of Personnel
Seán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
Question 89: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the numbers of teaching personnel waiting to be cleared by the Garda Vetting Unit; the estimated time for when the backlog is due to be cleared; the additional resources, if any, that are being allocated to ensure the swift vetting of teachers; and if delays in the vetting process are preventing teaching posts being filled. [10519/12]
Ruairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
The arrangements for vetting of teaching and non-teaching staff were introduced in September 2006. In late 2010, my Department issued Circular 0063/2010 which updated and clarified the requirements for Garda vetting as part of recruitment procedures for all teaching and non-teaching positions.
Responsibility for complying with the vetting requirements rests with the school authority as employer of school staff. However, as the Teaching Council is the registered organisation that liaises with the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) for the vetting of teachers, an indication of the level of vetting that has been carried out for teachers is that approximately 30,000 of circa 73,000 teachers who are registered with the Teaching Council have been vetted to date.
My Department’s circular requires that vetting be completed in advance of appointments being made. However, it also provides that in certain limited circumstances where this is not possible, the prospective employee may, subject to certain conditions, be appointed pending the subsequent satisfactory outcome of the vetting process. The current turnaround time for the GCVU to return a vetting outcome to the Teaching Council is typically less than one month.
Responsibility for the GCVU and the deployment of staff to this unit falls within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence. The Deputy will be aware that the Minister last year published the Scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011. This legislation will place the vetting of persons working with children or vulnerable adults on a statutory basis and will also set out the statutory requirements for the vetting of persons employed in schools. Officials within my Department will continue to liaise with the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence in relation to matters relevant to the education sector arising from this legislation.