Advice of the Ombudsman for children on the scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/252430
Title:
Advice of the Ombudsman for children on the scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011
Authors:
Ombudsman for Children Office (OCO)
Publisher:
Ombudsman for Children Office (OCO)
Issue Date:
Dec-2011
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/252430
Item Type:
Report
Language:
en
Description:
1.1. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence published the Scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill on 27 July 2011. The aim of the Bill is to give effect to the recommendation made by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children to introduce legislation to regulate and control the manner in which records of criminal convictions and information including soft information can be stored and disclosed by the Garda Síochána and other agencies for the purpose of child protection. 1.2. The Oireachtas Committee concluded that an amendment to the Constitution would not be necessary to allow for the establishment of a statutory vetting scheme that would satisfy the requirements of child protection and provide adequate safeguards for the rights of any persons affected by the proposed vetting legislation. Specifically, the Committee recommended in its first report on the 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2007 that the Government prepare and publish as a matter of priority legislation to establish a statutory scheme: • for the vetting of all persons involved in working in any capacity with children; • for the statutory regulation of the manner in which information in relation to records of criminal prosecutions, criminal convictions and soft information may be collated, exchanged and deployed by An Garda Síochána or other statutory agencies for the purpose of ensuring the highest standards of child protection within the State; and • to require that all agencies, organisations, bodies, clubs, educational and childcare establishments and groups working with or involved with children ensure that all of those working under their aegis either in a paid or voluntary capacity with children are subject to vetting1. 1.3. Section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 provides that the Ombudsman for Children may give advice to Ministers of the Government on any matter relating to the rights and welfare of children, including the probable effect of proposals for legislation. In accordance with this statutory function, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office has set out below a number of observations andrecommendations on the proposals put forward by the Government in the Scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011, in addition to highlighting a number of relevant international human rights standards. 1.4. The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has on a number of occasions provided advice to Government and to the Houses of the Oireachtas on proposals to amend the Constitution; in these submissions, this Office advised that such an amendment explicitly enable the Oireachtas to legislate for the collection and exchange of information relating to the potential endangerment of children2. 1.5. The absence of a statutory framework governing this aspect of child protection represents a serious lacuna in existing legislation aimed at shielding children from harm, notwithstanding the significant and essential work carried out by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU). The passage of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011 through the Houses of the Oireachtas is therefore a welcome opportunity to address this deficit and put in place a legally robust vetting system. 1.6. In emphasising the importance of vetting, however, it should not be forgotten that it is one component of a larger child protection framework and that it cannot guarantee children’s safety in isolation. A strong vetting mechanism is not a replacement for sound recruitment processes; indeed, as Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children makes clear, employers and heads of organisations where staff or volunteers have access to children should at all times implement safe recruitment practices, including vetting of applicants and staff, rigorous checking of references, interview procedures and monitoring of good professional practice3. 1.7. In addition, reform with respect to vetting will necessarily interact with other forthcoming legislation relevant to child protection dealing with the reporting of child abuse, spent convictions, and the proposals to put Children First on a statutory footing. Every effort must be made to ensure consistency and coherence between these different proposals. 1.8. It is acknowledged that there are already great demands placed on the GCVU and that the issue of capacity cannot be ignored. However, the trajectory of law reform must be clear: Ireland should put in place a mechanism that builds on the work done at present and aligns it with best practice.
Keywords:
LEGISLATION; CHILD PROTECTION; CHILD
Local subject classification:
VETTING PROCEDURE

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorOmbudsman for Children Office (OCO)en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2012-11-16T14:00:02Z-
dc.date.available2012-11-16T14:00:02Z-
dc.date.issued2011-12-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/252430-
dc.description1.1. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence published the Scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill on 27 July 2011. The aim of the Bill is to give effect to the recommendation made by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children to introduce legislation to regulate and control the manner in which records of criminal convictions and information including soft information can be stored and disclosed by the Garda Síochána and other agencies for the purpose of child protection. 1.2. The Oireachtas Committee concluded that an amendment to the Constitution would not be necessary to allow for the establishment of a statutory vetting scheme that would satisfy the requirements of child protection and provide adequate safeguards for the rights of any persons affected by the proposed vetting legislation. Specifically, the Committee recommended in its first report on the 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2007 that the Government prepare and publish as a matter of priority legislation to establish a statutory scheme: • for the vetting of all persons involved in working in any capacity with children; • for the statutory regulation of the manner in which information in relation to records of criminal prosecutions, criminal convictions and soft information may be collated, exchanged and deployed by An Garda Síochána or other statutory agencies for the purpose of ensuring the highest standards of child protection within the State; and • to require that all agencies, organisations, bodies, clubs, educational and childcare establishments and groups working with or involved with children ensure that all of those working under their aegis either in a paid or voluntary capacity with children are subject to vetting1. 1.3. Section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 provides that the Ombudsman for Children may give advice to Ministers of the Government on any matter relating to the rights and welfare of children, including the probable effect of proposals for legislation. In accordance with this statutory function, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office has set out below a number of observations andrecommendations on the proposals put forward by the Government in the Scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011, in addition to highlighting a number of relevant international human rights standards. 1.4. The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has on a number of occasions provided advice to Government and to the Houses of the Oireachtas on proposals to amend the Constitution; in these submissions, this Office advised that such an amendment explicitly enable the Oireachtas to legislate for the collection and exchange of information relating to the potential endangerment of children2. 1.5. The absence of a statutory framework governing this aspect of child protection represents a serious lacuna in existing legislation aimed at shielding children from harm, notwithstanding the significant and essential work carried out by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU). The passage of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011 through the Houses of the Oireachtas is therefore a welcome opportunity to address this deficit and put in place a legally robust vetting system. 1.6. In emphasising the importance of vetting, however, it should not be forgotten that it is one component of a larger child protection framework and that it cannot guarantee children’s safety in isolation. A strong vetting mechanism is not a replacement for sound recruitment processes; indeed, as Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children makes clear, employers and heads of organisations where staff or volunteers have access to children should at all times implement safe recruitment practices, including vetting of applicants and staff, rigorous checking of references, interview procedures and monitoring of good professional practice3. 1.7. In addition, reform with respect to vetting will necessarily interact with other forthcoming legislation relevant to child protection dealing with the reporting of child abuse, spent convictions, and the proposals to put Children First on a statutory footing. Every effort must be made to ensure consistency and coherence between these different proposals. 1.8. It is acknowledged that there are already great demands placed on the GCVU and that the issue of capacity cannot be ignored. However, the trajectory of law reform must be clear: Ireland should put in place a mechanism that builds on the work done at present and aligns it with best practice.en_GB
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherOmbudsman for Children Office (OCO)en_GB
dc.subjectLEGISLATIONen_GB
dc.subjectCHILD PROTECTIONen_GB
dc.subjectCHILDen_GB
dc.subject.otherVETTING PROCEDUREen_GB
dc.titleAdvice of the Ombudsman for children on the scheme of the National Vetting Bureau Bill 2011en_GB
dc.typeReporten
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