National Vetting Bureau (Children And Vulnerable Persons) Bill

Author:Mr Arthur Cox Employment Law Group
Profession:Arthur Cox

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 (the Bill) is part of a suite of complementary legislative proposals to strengthen child protection. This Briefing is intended to outline the main provisions of the Bill for employers, it does not pretend to ask all the questions or provide all the answers, but we hope it is helpful. Employers are advised to seek legal advice.

What is the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012

The purpose of the Bill, published on 20 July 2012, is to provide a legislative basis for the vetting of persons who seek positions of employment relating to children or vulnerable persons. Currently persons applying for such positions are vetted on a non-statutory basis. This Bill will make this vetting mandatory. The Garda Central Vetting Unit, established in 2002, will be renamed the National Vetting Bureau (the Bureau).

Making vetting a statutory obligation, with accompanying statutory rights for persons being vetted, opens up new avenues of possible litigation in public law and/or for breach of statutory duty. Employers would be wise, therefore, to ensure that the new provisions, when enacted, are reflected appropriately in staff handbooks and contracts of employment and that appropriate training is given. Once the new law is enacted, any employer who fails to ensure vetting is carried out will face criminal penalties.

Who is affected

Every 'relevant organization' ie any person, incorporated or unincorporated, and any employment agency, which provides employment (whether under a contract of employment, for services, or otherwise) relevant to children or vulnerable persons. A child is someone under 18 years. A vulnerable person is someone suffering from a disorder of the mind, intellectual disability or physical impairment, as defined. The Bill does not apply to an individual who does work in the course of a private arrangement for their own benefit, or for a child or vulnerable person who is a member of the individual's own family.

Relevant employer duties under the Bill

To register as a 'relevant organisation'

Employers must apply to the Bureau to be registered as a 'relevant organisation' unless already registered or another registered relevant organization submits an application on their behalf.

To nominate liaison persons

Employers will have to nominate a liaison person to apply for and receive vetting disclosures under the Act and s/he will be subject to...

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