108. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will implement a single up to date Garda clearance recognised across various disciplines, such as child care, special needs assistant, teacher, youth reach leader and pastoral council member, thus avoiding the need for individual Garda clearance for each appointment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40995/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am pleased to inform that Deputy that at present, 80% of overall vetting applications are being processed by the National Vetting Bureau in five working days. In circumstances where there is such a sustained reduction in processing times, the issue of vetting “transferability” is very largely obviated. This efficiency in the Garda vetting systems has been achieved by the deployment of the e-Vetting system which facilitates the on-line processing of applications for vetting from registered organisations. The e-Vetting system is available to all registered organisations and the Garda Authorities are ready to assist those organisations who are not yet using the e-Vetting system to do so.
The primary purpose of the Garda National Vetting Bureau is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Vetting checks are conducted by the Garda vetting bureau for each new vetting application received to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. This is because once there has been any significant lapse of time between one employment and another, the original Vetting Disclosure must be reviewed to take account of any changes in information, such as more recent criminal convictions.
Furthermore, under the Data Protection Acts, any sensitive personal data which employers use in regard to their employees must be current, accurate and up-to-date. Importantly, the general non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the current process also helps to protect against the risk of fraud or forgery in the process.
There are certain limited circumstances where organisations can share a single vetting disclosure where this is agreed to by the vetting applicant. Section 12(3)(A) of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 (as amended) provides that two or more relevant organisations can enter into a joint written agreement in relation to the employment, contracting, permitting or placement of an person to undertake relevant work or activities thereby providing for only one of the organisations being required to conduct vetting in respect of that person.