Order of Discalced Carmelites

Policy and Procedure for Garda Vetting

Introduction

The Order of Discalced Carmelites is committed to the highest standards in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. As part of that commitment the Order requires that all friars, and all associates, staff members and volunteers who work in or help with our communities apply for Garda Vetting.

What is Garda Vetting?

Garda Vetting is the process by which the Gardaí check for prosecutions and convictions against an individual, and where they exist disclose them, with the individual's consent, to a prospective employer or organisation they wish to volunteer with. Garda vetting forms part of a safe recruitment procedure. It represents best practice and shows that the organisation cares for its clients, staff and volunteers.

Why should the Order avail of the Garda Vetting Service?

Good screening procedures enhance our ability to safeguard the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults. Garda Vetting helps us in the:

•   Protection of children and vulnerable adults.

•   Protection of personnel providing services to children and vulnerable adults.

•   Management of risk in respect of former offenders.

•   Protection of the Order in providing services to children and vulnerable adults.

Garda Vetting is considered to be one of the key elements in the delivery of a comprehensive and robust child and vulnerable adult protection system.

Is the Order obliged to use the Vetting Service?

The Order has a duty of care to ensure that no one is appointed who is not suitable to work with children or vulnerable adults. Failure to use the service could be viewed as a failing in the duty of care and could give rise to legal liability.

Who provides Garda Vetting?

The vetting is carried out by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) in Co. Tipperary. Garda Vetting for our members, staff and volunteers can only be accessed through the Dublin Diocesan Garda Vetting Service.

The Garda Vetting Procedure is as follows:-

*   Personnel in a community or associated with it through work or volunteering and who are subject to Garda Vetting will receive a Garda Vetting Application Form..

*   The applicant completes the application form and returns it to the Prior of the relevant community. The applicant must sign the form, thereby providing authorisation for the Garda Vetting process.

*   The application is forwarded to the Provincial who signs it and sends it to the Dublin Diocesan Garda Vetting Administrator who will enter it into the Diocesan Database and examine it for any omissions, mistakes or lack of clarity.

*   Any incomplete application is dated and returned with a cover letter requesting the application’s correction and resubmission. Changes cannot be made other than by the applicant on the authorised application.

*   The Dublin Diocesan Garda Vetting Administrator sends the form on to the Garda Central Vetting Unit where the vetting check is carried out.

*   A Garda Vetting disclosure is issued to the Dublin Diocesan Garda Vetting Administrator who in turn issues it to the Provincial. It is the responsibility of the Provincial to pass on the disclosure to the Prior of the relevant community.

*   The following may be disclosed to the authorised liaison person in the registered organisation:

 

§      Details of all convictions not subject to the administrative filter (For information on the administrative filter see the end of this document.)

§      Details of all cases pending.

§      Non convictions will be considered for disclosure where the circumstances of an offence gives rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may harm a child or vulnerable person.  

*        Where the returned application contains relevant information to the employment/engagement of the applicant, the Order must consider seriously whether or not a Process Review Meeting is appropriate.

 In accordance with best practice, Garda Vetting should be sought in respect of each approximately every 5 years.

N.B. Relevant information refers to convictions/events disclosed by Garda Vetting

 

Recommended procedures following the receipt of information
from the Garda Central Vetting Unit.

 

1. Consideration of holding a Process Review Meeting

The Gardaí provide the organisation with details of all prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, and/ or convictions. Consideration for a Process Review Meeting will occur when an application is returned from the GCVU with relevant information attached. The Order should clarify any information received from the GCVU with the applicant. If the information received gives rise to concern, a Process Review Meeting is strongly recommended.

 

2. The Process Review Meeting

In the event that a Process Review Meeting is to be held please note the following:

•   It is the Order which will arrange the meeting. Appropriate decision makers and support personnel if required should attend.

•   The applicant is invited to attend and to bring someone along as a support if he/she wishes.

•   The meeting has two purposes, firstly to clarify the applicant’s identity and secondly to give the applicant an opportunity to discuss his/her application in the light of the information received from the GCVU. The applicant must provide proof of his/her identity.

•   A discussion then takes place following which a decision will be made. The discussion is for clarification purposes so that all information required to make a recruitment decision is accurate. A written record will be kept of the meeting.

•   An applicant who asserts that his/her Garda Vetting Disclosure may be inaccurate must provide satisfactory evidence to support his/her assertion.

•   If the applicant provides satisfactory evidence to support his/her assertion that his/ her Garda Vetting Disclosure may be inaccurate, the Garda Vetting Administrator will contact the Garda Central Vetting Unit with the information, and any other information as deemed necessary. The Garda Central Vetting Unit will conduct further checks required in respect of the applicant and write back to the Garda Vetting Administrator who will communicate the response to the organisation.

3. Risk Assessment Guidelines

A conviction, prosecution or case pending will not necessarily prevent an applicant from being considered for employment/engagement. The decision-making process is fundamentally to assess the suitability of an applicant. Any information which arises from the Garda Vetting process may influence the decision of the organisation to offer employment/engagement.

The following criteria will be considered (this list is not exhaustive):

• The nature/number/frequency of any convictions

• The post for which the applicant is seeking employment/engagement

• The self-disclosure of the conviction/case pending by the applicant

• Time lapse since last conviction

• The steps the applicant has taken to prevent reoffending.

 

4. Relevant Legislation

Relevant legislation refers to convictions relating to the following legislation in Ireland and elsewhere. Legislation from other jurisdictions will, in some cases, bar the applicant from the outset.  In the interest of fairness, however, the organisation should consider whether the applicant should be asked to attend a Process Review Meeting before a final decision is made. The following are examples of legislation that may affect employment/volunteering decisions is given:

• The Child Care Acts 1991 to 2007

• Adoption Act 2010

• Domestic Violence Act 1996 to 2002

Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997, as amended; Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 as amended; Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, amended; Children Acts 2001 to 2007; Sex Offenders Act 2001, as amended; Common Law Offences relating to murder, manslaughter, rape etc.

• Criminal Justice Act, 2006, as amended

• Illegal Immigrant Trafficking Act 2000, as amended

Offences against the Person Act, 1861, as amended; Criminal Law (Rape) Acts, 1981 and 1990; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Acts, 1885 to 1993; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 2006, as amended; Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 to 2004; Punishment of Incest Act, 1908, as amended; Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, 1996, as amended; Offences against the State Acts, 1939 to 1998; Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, 2005, as amended; Misuse of Drugs Acts, 1977 to 2007; Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996, as amended; Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, as amended; Criminal Justice Act, 1990, as amended; Criminal Justice Act, 1964. as amended; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Act 2007; Criminal Justice Act 2007, as amended; Criminal Justice Act 1994, as amended; Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006, as amended; Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2010. Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. This list is not exhaustive.

Due care must be taken to keep informed about the meaning of legislation and any relevant changes to legislation.

 

The following areas must also be considered with care:

•   Number and frequency of convictions, particularly in the last ten years.

•   Non-child protection related offences that may still give cause for concern: for example, a prosecution and successful conviction under the Domestic Violence Act 1991.

•   Serious road traffic offences such as drunk driving, dangerous driving, hit and run, no insurance and car theft.

 

Data Confidentiality

•  All information passed to other appropriate and relevant staff must only be done on a basis required by the recruitment process.

•  In the case of a review meeting the applicant’s information must be protected.

 

Data Protection

Garda Vetting Database

All applications received by the Garda Vetting Administrator are entered onto the Garda Vetting Database. The database contains information such as full name, current address, date of birth, position applied for and the date the application was completed by the applicant. The database also keeps a record of the status of the application. Once applications have been completed and returned from the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU), the database is updated accordingly. Access to the database is restricted to authorised OCD personnel and the data is stored securely.

Under guidance from the GCVU, applications belonging to volunteers will be kept for as long as the person is volunteering and for one year thereafter. Once the year has lapsed, the hard copy application will be destroyed in an appropriate manner. The information on the database will be kept securely for statistical purposes. This same process will apply to applications containing disclosures.

It is the responsibility of the each community to inform the Vetting Coordinator, on an annual basis, of any volunteers/staff members which are no longer engaged/ employed in the community. This will allow the Vetting Coordinator to make amendments to the Garda Vetting Database and filing system required by data protection legislation.

Access to Information

It is the policy of the Discalced Carmelites that only those who are entitled to see the application (or any data disclosed as part of the vetting process) as part of their duties will be allowed to do so.

Under the Discalced Garda Vetting Policy and Data Protection laws, applicants can request access to any personal data held about them. Reflecting their status as “data controllers”, data access requests should be made to the Provincial;

Garda Vetting FAQs

Can I employ/engage an applicant who has not yet completed the Garda Vetting process?

The ideal situation is to adhere to safe recruitment practices and not engage or employ an applicant prior to the completion of the Garda Vetting process. It is important to prepare well in advance if you plan to employ someone or if you are going to engage volunteers. You should introduce Garda Vetting at the earliest opportunity. If people have to commence work before their vetting application has been processed, they should, as an interim measure, be asked to sign a Declaration Form and to sign their agreement to adhere to the Order’s child protection policy and their contact with children or vulnerable adults should be closely supervised.

What does data protection mean?

Data protection legislation requires that each individual’s information is treated in an appropriate manner. The Order has a responsibility to manage any data given to it by the Gardaí as laid out in the Data Protection legislation.

What are the implications if I have previous conviction(s)?

All applicants must declare previous conviction(s) on the Garda Vetting application.

Details of any previous conviction(s) will be listed on the application returned to the Garda Vetting Administrator.

The Order will consider whether the information is relevant to the role and to the suitability of the applicant to fulfil the particular role.

Please note that no conviction is ever spent in Irish law no matter what it was or when it was incurred (with the exception of minors).

 

What if I have a case pending against me?

An applicant should provide relevant information, which will be taken into account when considering the application.

What if I do not disclose that I have a previous conviction?

Applicants are required to disclose all relevant information on the Garda Vetting application. If this is not done, the applicant will be given an opportunity in a review meeting to explain the omission and the organisation will make a decision based on all the information.

What happens if I don’t know where I used to live?

Exceptionally, some people are unable to provide full details of where they have lived from birth. There may be a number of reasons for this and the applicant should write a short explanation for the Gardaí on the margin of the application. If the GCVU need further clarification they will return the application to the applicant through the Vetting Administrator.

What happens if I travelled when I was a student?

This information should also be written on the margin. However, you should identify the countries and cities you visited as well as the addresses of places you stayed for a significant amount of time  If you resided in another country as an adult (since you were over 18 years of age), you must provide evidence of a police certificate from that state. Information can be sought at the Embassy or Consulate that is appropriate for you.

What happens if an applicant refuses to fill out an application requesting vetting?

It is policy of the Discalced Carmelites that all applicants for employment/ engagement should be vetted by the Gardaí. A refusal to complete a Garda Vetting application may deem the application for the position incomplete.

Can someone under 18 years of age be vetted?

Garda Vetting can be sought for people aged between 16 and 18 years provided the Garda Vetting Consent Form is completed by their parent/guardian (available at www.csps.dublindiocese.ie)

 

Garda Vetting Procedures - Administrative Filter

 

In anticipation of the amendment and commencement of the National Vetting Bureau Act 2012, (Commencement date to be confirmed) an administrative filter in respect of Garda Vetting Unit Disclosures will operate in accordance with the following procedural guidelines.

A. Criminal Convictions to be disclosed in all cases:

1) Offences against the Person.

2) Sexual Offences

3) Convictions on indictment.

B. District Court Convictions which will not be disclosed:

1) Motoring Offences:

District Court convictions for motoring offences will not be disclosed after 7 years even where more recent offences have been committed. This is because it is considered that old minor motoring offences would not be relevant due to the passage of time.

2) Minor Public Order Offences :

The following convictions under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 will not be disclosed if the offence is over 7 years old even where more recent offences have been committed:

•   Section 4 (Intoxication)

•   Section 5 (Disorderly conduct)

•   Section 6 (Threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour)

•   Section 7 (Distribution or display of material which is offensive)

•   Section 8 (Failure to comply with direction of Garda)/

•   Section 9 (Wilful obstruction).

3) Other minor offences – 1 Only:

District Court convictions for any other minor offence will not be disclosed after 7 years where the person has one such offence only (excluding motoring or public order offences over 7 years old). This provision does not apply to offences against the person or to sexual offences.

C. Probation Act Provisions

Where persons have been dealt with by a district court in accordance with the provisions of section 1(1) (i) or 1 (1) (ii) of the Probation Act 1907, the offences will not be disclosed except in cases where the circumstances of the offence gives rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may harm a child or vulnerable person.

Where persons have been dealt with by a court in accordance with section 1 (2) of the Probation Act, these will be disclosed in all cases. (Section 1 (2) relates solely to persons “convicted on indictment” Court other than District Court.)

D. Non Convictions - Offences in respect of which a person is charged but subsequently not prosecuted or acquitted.

Non convictions will be considered for disclosure where the circumstances of an offence gives rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may harm a child or vulnerable person. This information will only be disclosed if the information is of such a nature that its disclosure is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of children or vulnerable persons, or both, as the case may be.

The Garda Central Vetting Unit will make such decision in the context of:

•   The information concerned

•   The relevance of the information to the type of work/activity

•   The source and reliability of the information

•   The rights of the vetting applicant and any submissions made by them.

Where the GCVU makes a determination to disclose information under this section the GCVU will:

•   Notify the person who is the subject of the application for the vetting disclosure concerned, in writing, of its determination and of the reasons for it,

•   Provide to the person a copy of the information to be disclosed,

•   Notify the person of the intention to disclose the information to an Authorised Signatory for the registered organisation concerned after the expiry of 14 days from the date of notification, and

•   Allow the applicant the opportunity to make a written submission.

•   There will also be an appeals process in respect of a decision to disclose non-conviction information.

The GCVU will not issue a vetting disclosure in respect of a person until this process has been completed.

Contact details for Dublin Diocesan Vetting Administrator:

Vetting Administrator
Dublin Diocesan Garda Vetting Service
Child Safeguarding and Protection Service
Holy Cross Diocesan Centre
Clonliffe College
Dublin 3
Phone: 01 808 7593

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Safeguarding Policy of the Catholic Church in Ireland


As a constituent member of the Catholic Church in Ireland we recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children and are committed to ensuring their safety and wellbeing, and will work in partnership with parents/guardians to do this. We recognise each child as a gift from God, and we value and encourage the participation of children in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.

All Church personnel (including clergy, religious, staff, volunteers and any other Church personnel) have a responsibility to safeguard children through promoting their welfare, health and development in a safe and caring environment which supports their best interests and prevents abuse.

Fr Michael McGoldrick, OCD
Provincial

Review of Safeguarding Practice in the The Irish Region of the Anglo Irish Province of the Discalced Carmelite Friars  (OCD) undertaken by The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI)  NBSCCCI Review report >>> here.

Statement of Discalced Carmelites in response to the NBSCCCI audit

Discalced Carmelites - Implementation of Audit Recommendations >>> here



If you have concerns about the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults regarding a Discalced Carmelite priest or brother please contact:

Designated Liaison Person (DLP) of Discalced Carmelites in Ireland: 
Mr Tom O’Donnell: Tel: 087-2687209 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or 
Deputy Designated Liaison Person (DDLP) for the OCD: 
Fr Vincent O’Hara, OCD: Tel: 087 6755850 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Other Contact Details:
The Safeguarding Coordinator for Training for the OCD is:
Sr Elizabeth Manning RSM: + 353 (0) 87 329 1928 
 
The Provincial of the Anglo-Irish Province is:
Fr Michael McGoldrick, OCD: +353 (0) 874168330
 
Department of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland
Derry Gateway Office - Whitehill, 106 Irish Street, Derry, BT47 Tel:  028 7131 4090
http://www.hscni.net/
 
National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NSBCCCI) 
New House, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
Tel: 01-5053124; Fax: 01-5053026       www.safeguarding.ie
 
Republic of Ireland
 
Tusla Child & Family Agency
Cora Kelly
2nd Floor, Unit 4/5 Nexus Building, Blanchardstown Coroporate Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15
Tel: 01-8976888
 
An Garda Siochána - Ireland 
Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line
(Current and historical incidents - Open 24/7 all year round)
1800 555 222
National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2, D02 DH42.
Tel: 01 666 3344
 
Towards Healing
Counselling Support - Freephone 1800 303416
Hearing impaired Text Line Number: 085 - 8022859
Address: PO BOX 5654, Dublin 14
 
Northern Ireland (Derry)
 
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) 
Should you need to report any incident of child abuse contact:
  • The police service on 101, the non-emergency telephone number, where you will be put in contact with a specially trained police officer.
  • In any emergency situation dial 999

 

Local Social Service Gateway Team
Western HSC Trust - Tel: 028 7131 4090
 
Towards Healing
Counselling Support - Freephone 0800 0963315

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