The Government recently published the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 (“the Act) as passed by both houses of the Oireachtas.
The aim of the Act is to make provision for the protection of children and vulnerable persons and to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Database System and to provide for the establishment of procedures that will apply to persons who wish to undertake certain work activities relating to children pr vulnerable persons.
The Act defines a “vulnerable person” as “ a person other than a child who (a) is suffering from a disorder of the mind, whether as a result of mental illness or dementia, (b) has an intellectual disability, (c) is suffering from a physical impairment, whether as a result of injury, illness or age or (d) has a physical disability, which is of such a nature or degree (i) as to restrict the capacity of the person to guard himself or herself against harm by another person, or (ii) that results in the person requiring assistance with the activities of daily living including dressing, eating, walking, washing and bathing”. A “child” is defined as “a person under the age of 18 years”.
In this first blog post we propose to look briefly at the new Database System. Section 6 of the Act deals with the establishment of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Database System which comprises of a number of registers namely
- the register of relevant organisations which is defined under Section 1 as including a person or body corporate who:
- employs any person (whether under a contract of employment or otherwise) ro undertake relevant work activities,
- enters into a contract for services with any person for the provision by that person of services that constitute relevant work or activities,
- permits any person (whether or not for commercial or other consideration) to undertake relevant work or activities on that person’s behalf,
- is a provider of courses of education or training, including internship schemes and as part of such education or training, makes an arrangement for the placement of any person in work experience or activities where a necessary part of the placement involves participation in relevant work activities but doesn’t include those involved in matters in the course of a private arrangement,
- who carries on the business of an employment agency within the meaning of the Employment Agency Act 1971,
- established by or under enactment (other than the Companies Act) whose functions include the regulation, registration, licensing or other authorisation of persons who undertake relevant work or activities or
- who represents for the purposes of the vetting procedures, another person, trade, profession or body, organisation or group or other body of persons that undertakes relevant work or activities
The general definition of “contract of employment” is defined in Section 1 as “(a) a contract of service or apprenticeship, or (b) any other contract, whereby an individual agrees with another person, who is carrying on the business of an employment agency, within the meaning of the Employment Agency Act 1971, and is acting in the course of that business, to do or perform personally any work or service for a third person (whether or not the third person is a party to the contract”.
2. the register of specified information which is defined under Section 1, in relation to a person who is the subject of an application for vetting disclosure, means information concerning a finding or allegation of harm to another person that is received by the Bureau from
- the Garda Siochana pursuant to an investigation of an offence or pursuant to any other function conferred on the Garda Siochana by or under any enactment or the common law, or
- a scheduled organisation set out under subsection (1) or (2) of Section 19.
in respect of any person and which is of such a nature to give rise to a bona fide concern that the person may (i) harm any child or vulnerable person (ii) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed (iii) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm (iv) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person or (v) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person
Section 19(1) provides in essence that where following an investigation, inquiry or regulatory process, a scheduled organisation has a bona fide concern that the person who is the subject of the investigation may harm any child or vulnerable person, the scheduled organisation may notify the bureau of their concern and state the reasons for it. Section 19(2) states that notwithstanding subsection (1), where in the course of exercising its powers under the Child Care Act 1991, the Health Service Executive, has a bona fide concern in respect of paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (1), the Health Service Executive shall notify the Bureau of their concern and state the reasons for it.
3. the register of vetted persons
Section 11 of the Act sets out the register of specified information required to be maintained by the Chief Bureau Officer. The details required to be maintained include the vetted persons
- former name including maiden name
- mothers maiden name
- previous address (if any)
- date of birth
- place of birth
- nationality (if known)
- passport number (if available)
- personal identification number (if any)
- date of application for vetting disclosure and the outcome of the application
- the name and particulars of the relevant organisation making the application for the vetting disclosure
- the relevant work or activity to which the application relates
- declaration of consent (set out in Section 13(4)(e)
- particulars of the vetting disclosures made in respect of the vetted person
- such other information as the Bureau may reasonably require for the performance of its functions
In our next blog post we will look at the procedures for vetting disclosures. We welcome any comments or questions you might have!