In 2015, new legislation regarding Garda Vetting will come into force (this was expected to be enacted in 2014). Anyone who has on-going contact with children, in the field of leisure or sport (paid or voluntary), other than those who assist ‘occasionally’ or in the event of a family or personal relationship, must be vetted. * Child means a person under the age of 18 years. It is up to clubs to assess whether a persons contact is ‘occasional’ or not. *Occasional Contact is “now and then” or a once off event, such as a sports day.
What this means for clubs?
If you have children involved in your club, all staff and volunteers who have direct contact with children must be vetted. It is not necessary for all committee members to be Garda Vetted but it is essential if they have direct contact with children.
Additional persons e.g. a caretaker – The club will have to make the assessment themselves. For example, in one club the caretaker may only be responsible for outdoor facilities and may not have any role working with children. In another club the caretaker may be responsible for supervision of changing and shower areas. The legislation only requires vetting of persons working with children. If the caretaker does not have such a role, a club is not committing any offence by not having them vetted.
Clubs should also look at their current recruitment policies and procedures to ensure that they are properly managed, enforced and comply with the new legalisation. Club members should attend Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport workshops with their Local Sports Partnership.
Clubs should have properly trained Children’s Officer. Training is available through the Local Sports Partnership network.
When the legislation is enacted:
It will be illegal for an individual to start working with children or vulnerable adults before successfully completing the Garda Vetting process.
Individuals who are registered with a Club and have been vetted successfully prior to the commencement of the legislation are eligible to continue work within the club.
Start the Garda Vetting process immediately for all un-vetted and new volunteers.
Prior to enactment of the legislation, current staff and volunteers can continue their role within the club while their application is being processed.
Once legislation is enacted (expected early 2015), current and new staff and volunteers cannot have access to vulnerable adults and children as it will be illegal to do so. Please note the application process may take some time so it is critical that all staff and volunteers are vetted immediately to avoid any disruption to club activities.
Most clubs will be affiliated to a national Governing Body eg. GAA, FAI and tclubs should contact their own NGB for support and further information. Clubs that are not affiliated to an NGB or whose NGB does not provide a vetting service can apply to be garda vetted through the Federation of Irish Sport (FIS).
The FIS facility will provide access for FIS member organisations and other non-member sporting organisations to Garda Vetting where such organisations do not have access to an Authorised Signatory within their own organisation or through another group facility.
Organisations wishing to access the service should contact Conn McCluskey (email@example.com or 01-6251155/083-1285169) for details of how to apply for access to the service and how the facility will be administered.
For further information regarding Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport contact Meath LSP at 046 9067337 or firstname.lastname@example.org