Information on Garda Vetting Service provided by Louth Volunteer Centre
The aim of this document is to distribute information regarding Garda vetting of volunteers and minimise confusion surrounding the service provided by An Garda Síochána.
What is Garda Vetting?
Garda Vetting is the process by which a Garda Vetting Application Form is submitted to An Garda Síochána 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.
Do volunteers need to be vetted?
At present, there is no legal requirement to vet volunteers, although this will be introduced at some point in the future. 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.
Garda Vetting and Louth Volunteer Centre
Louth Volunteer Centre, as part of our commitment to supporting and promoting volunteering have introduced a Garda Vetting service for voluntary and community groups. All Volunteer Centres now act as an Authorised Signatory for Garda Vetting purposes for voluntary and community organisations that do not otherwise have access to an authorised signatory. Volunteer Centre Ireland and member Volunteer Centres have developed a number of documents to ensure best practice in and assist organisations with Garda Vetting and an agreement on the service with the Garda Vetting Unit and Data Protection.
What is an Authorised Signatory?
An Authorised Signatory is a person who has completed the training supplied by the Garda Central Vetting Unit and is authorised to act as the liaison between the organisation requesting vetting and the Garda Central Unit.
Will An Garda Síochána vet 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, Louth Volunteer Centre can process the vetting paperwork for your volunteers. This paperwork is then forwarded to the Garda Central Vetting Unit.
How does it work?
- Your organisation will be required to register with us.
- Your organisation will be required to meet with/attend training about the Garda Vetting process with us.
- Your organisation will be expected to have certain policies and procedures in place before commencing Garda Vetting, for example, 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.
Garda Vetting – a quick guide to the process
- Louth Volunteer Centre will act as the Authorised Signatory on behalf of your organisation.
- Prior to commencing, Louth Volunteer Centre will give you copies of relevant information documents and forms and will meet with you to discuss your needs
- Once your organisation has signed and returned the required forms, we will begin the process of Garda Vetting for you
Your organisation will be required to:
- 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 form/s and a completed checklist to the Manager,Louth Volunteer Centre, Fitzwilliam Business Centre, Laurence Street, Drogheda, County Louth.
- We 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.
- Copies of any disclosures will be forwarded to you by post. These forms must be returned to the Volunteer Centre within 3 weeks of being forwarded to you. Failure to return these disclosures may result in a discontinuation of the service.