GARDA VETTING and VOLUNTEER CENTRES
Westmeath Volunteer Centre, as part of their commitment to support and promote volunteering have recently introduced a new Garda Vetting service for voluntary and community groups within their local areas. We can now act as an Authorised Signatory for Garda Vetting purposes for voluntary and community organisations which do not have access to an authorised signatory within their own parent organisation.
There is an administration fee of €5 charged by Westmeath Volunteer Centre for the processing of Garda Vetting Forms for Volunteers, a fee of €10 charged for the processing of Garda Vetting Forms for trainees and a fee of €25 charged for the processing of Garda Vetting Forms for employees/staff.
What is Garda Vetting?
Garda Vetting is the process by which a form is submitted to An Garda Siochana Vetting Office asking them to check if a person has any convictions and/or prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, recorded against their name.
What is an Authorised Signatory?
Do volunteers need to be vetted?
At present, there is no legal requirement to vet volunteers, although this may be introduced at some point. Many organisations choose to make it a policy to vet volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults and/or are responsible for finances. However, most organisations recognise that not all volunteers may need to be vetted. For example, volunteers working in administration, doing practical work, providing professional services or a range of other volunteer opportunities may not need to be vetted as they are not interacting with the clients or directly involved in finance and will never have an opportunity to do so.
It is up to the organisation to decide whether or not a volunteer position requires vetting. This should be assessed while the organisation is in the process of developing the job description for each individual volunteer position. Whether the volunteer is being vetted or not it is important to conduct reference checks as these provide vital character reference information that is not available in a Garda vetting check. (Your local volunteer centre will supply you with in-depth information and training on the process).
Will An Garda Siochana vet our volunteers?
The Garda Central Vetting Unit already provides a volunteer vetting service for most large community and voluntary organisations throughout the country via an ‘authorised signatory’ within that organisation. This means that a member of staff within that organisation has been trained to be the link between the Garda Vetting Unit and the organisation. However, they do not currently have the resources to provide this service to smaller organisations. In response to this, the members of Volunteer Centres Ireland have worked with the Garda Vetting Unit to train a designated staff member in each volunteer centre in each county to act as an Authorised Signatory between local voluntary and community organisations and the Garda Vetting unit.
What does this mean for your organisation?
If your organisation does not have access to an Authorised Signatory and you require Garda Vetting, your local volunteer centre can process the vetting paperwork for your volunteers. This paperwork is then forwarded to the Garda Central Vetting Unit. A list of local centres can be found on the Volunteer Centres Ireland website at www.volunteer.ie.
How does it work?
For details on the process in your area, please contact your local volunteer centre. In general to avail of this service:
- Your organisation will be required to register with your local volunteer centre.
- Your organisation will be required to meet with/attend training about the Garda Vetting process with your local volunteer centre.
- Your organisation will be expected to have certain policies and procedures in place before commencing Garda Vetting, e.g., confidentiality policy, data protection policy, Garda Vetting policy. Copies of generic polices can be obtained from your local volunteer centre.
- Your organisation will be required to sign an agreement with your local volunteer centre giving them the authority to act on your behalf as an Authorised Signatory for Garda Vetting purposes.
A quick guide to the process
1. The Volunteer Centre will act as the Authorised Signatory on behalf of your organisation.
2. Prior to commencing, Westmeath VC will give you copies of the following and will meet with you to discuss your needs.
- A guide to the garda vetting process
- The WVC GARDA VETTING AGREEMENT to be signed by you and returned to Volunteer Centre
- The WVC confidential Disclosure agreement to be signed by you and returned to Volunteer Centre.
- A Designated Vetting Officer form. Please complete with the names of people that your organisation has decided will have access to the results of the Garda Vetting Process
- Garda Vetting forms to be completed by your volunteers/ potential volunteers
- A checklist for you to give to staff/volunteers to ensure that the Garda Vetting forms are completed correctly.
- A checklist to be completed by you to be returned with each batch of garda vetting forms.
Please read this carefully.
Please sign the GARDA VETTING AGREEMENT, Non-Disclosure agreement and designated Vetting officer form and return it to
Westmeath Volunteer Centre
Westmeath Community Development Limited
Technology, Enterprise and Innovation Centre,
Keeping a copy for your own files.
3. Once your organisation has signed and returned required forms, the WVC will begin the process of Garda Vetting for you.
4. Your organisation must:
- Give volunteers/potential volunteers a copy of the Garda Vetting form and explain how important it is to fill it in correctly.
- Ensure the volunteer returns all individual Garda Vetting forms to you.
- Check each form to ensure that it has been completed properly
Post the forms and a completed checklist to Ian O’Flynn, Westmeath Volunteer Centre, Westmeath Community Development Limited, Technology, Innovation and Enterprise Centre, Mullingar, County Westmeath
5. The Volunteer centre will then submit all forms to the Garda Vetting office. Once the forms have been processed by the Garda Vetting Unit and returned to the Volunteer Centre, we will notify your organisation of same in writing or by email.
Please Click Here to Download a Garda Vetting Form
|Click Here for an example of how to fill in the form|