National Vetting Bureau Acts, 2012-16

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016, which came into effect on 29 April 2016, make it mandatory for people working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau (GNVB). 

What is the main requirement of the Act?

A relevant organisation

~ engage, 

~ employ, 

~ enter into a contract for services with, 

~ or otherwise permit 

any person (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration), 

What is relevant work?

Relevant work or activity relating to children, for the purposes of the NVB Act, means a work or activity specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of that Act. In the case of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Ireland, the NVB have confirmed by letter that Section 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 is applicable to the activities of the Prelature as such: 

"Any work or activity as a minister or priest or any other person engaged in the advancement of any religious beliefs to children unless such work or activity is merely incidental to the advancement of religious beliefs to persons who are not children."

Note that a similar definition of relevant work for the purposes of the Children First Act 2015 does not include the proviso "unless such work ...".

What is a relevant organisation?

Every natural person, body or other entity who is responsible for relevant work or activities (such as the Prelature in Ireland) is, in principle, a relevant organisation

The vetting requirement does not apply, however, to an arrangement made by an individual for the provision by any person of relevant work or activities for the benefit of the individual or for the benefit of a child who is a member of the individual’s family.

What is a vetting disclosure?

A vetting disclosure is a statement issued to the liaison person of a registered relevant organisation by the NVB, on foot of an application by that person (with the consent and participation of the candidate), on behalf of the organisation, with a view to the engagement of the candidate for relevant work or activities. 

The NVB will make such enquiries of the Garda Síochána as it deems necessary to establish whether there is any criminal record or specified information relating to the person, and will then issue the disclosure to the liaison person who made the application.

Renewal of Vetting

There is no requirement at present for someone who is vetted once for a particular activity to be re-vetted, unless they change relevant activity or position with sporting or community organisations, and other limited circumstances. A Government Working Group is considering proposals to introduce a mandatory three-year vetting renewal requirement and other changes. The Minister has stated in the Dail that "I expect to receive the Group’s report on arrangements for Garda Vetting in the context of the introduction of a statutory re-vetting regime early this year [2024]."

What is an affiliate registration?

Not every relevant organisation will be accepted for full registration by the NVB. Where the number of applications likely to be made annually by the relevant organisation is low, the NVB grants the relevant organisation an "affiliate" status and registration number and requires it to channel its applications through a registered 'umbrella' organisation, which has approval to act for affiliate relevant organisations.

Under Section 13 (2) of National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012: 

‘A relevant organisation may submit an application for vetting disclosure under this section on its own behalf or on behalf of another relevant organisation that the organisation represents for the purposes of the vetting procedures under this Act and, where a relevant organisation submits an application on behalf of another relevant organisation, it shall inform the Bureau of that and provide it with the particulars referred to in Section 8 (5).’ 

In these circumstances, a Service Level Agreement (NBSCCCI Guidance 1.1B Template 1) is developed between the organisations or Church bodies which sets out the terms and modality for the sharing of the disclosure. Sharing of such information can only be done with the permission of the subject of the disclosure, which is granted on the NVB-1 form (see sample).

The "Prelature of Opus Dei in Ireland" has an affiliate registration (No. GNVB/2010/CJ94) dated 8th October 2020 from the NVB. Accordingly, every vetting application made pursuant to this Local Safeguarding Policy will be submitted by the Dublin City Volunteer Centre, Unit 4, Whitefriars, Aungier Street, Dublin 2, D02 XT21 (a ‘registered organisation’), on behalf of the Prelature (as a ‘relevant organisation’) under a renewable Service-Level Agreement (currently dated 1st January 2023). DCVC are a vetting process service provider authorised by the National Vetting Bureau and the Liaison Person of the DCVC reviews and submits each online application and receives the disclosure before communicating it to the designated Garda Vetting Officer of the Prelature.

Further guidance

For details on the candidate procedure for giving consent and providing information for an application for a vetting disclosure, follow the step-by-step Vetting Guide.

See also the Vetting Glossary.