Re. National Vetting Bureau Legislation
Dear Minister Shatter,
Your Department is to be commended for recent work to introduce legislation on vetting requirements for those who work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults. It has long been considered best practice for volunteer-involving organisations to vet persons who seek positions relating to young people or vulnerable adults. We welcome the introduction of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, which we believe will ensure a standard of Garda Vetting is implemented in all relevant volunteer involving organisations in Ireland and will help to make our country safer for both the beneficiaries of volunteering and for volunteers themselves.
While we are pleased the Government has introduced this legislation, we, as a group of voluntary sector leaders, are concerned that adequate resources are yet to be put in place to cope with an increased level of Garda Vetting applications. The legislation, which will require thousands of new and existing volunteers to be vetted for the first time, will significantly increase the level of applications to the National Vetting Bureau – which currently has a waiting period of 6-12 weeks to process applications.
We believe that an increase in waiting times for Garda Vettting could act as a significant barrier to volunteering, a disincentive to volunteer with thousands of volunteer involving organisations who work with and for young people and vulnerable adults in Ireland.
We have worked closely with the Garda Vetting Unit to date and appreciate the challenges the Unit has faced with limited resources and meeting increased demand for vetting. We urge the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure that the National Vetting Bureau is adequately resourced to deal with a significant increase in applications and the additional workload associated with this.
We the undersigned urgently require confirmation that the Government is commited to ensuring Garda Vetting waiting times are minimised and that adequate investment in resources within the National Vetting Bureau are put in place to ensure the succesful implementation of the legislation.
We look forward to hearing from you. Yours Sincerely,
Catherine Rose, CEO, Age and Opportunity
Marry Cunningham, Director, National Youth Council of Ireland
Deirdre Garvey, CEO, The Wheel
Yvonne McKenna, CEO, Volunteer Ireland (and on behalf of local Volunteer Centres)
Deirdre Finlay, Head of Programmes, VSO Ireland