Vetting procedures for persons working with children or vulnerable adults are already required under Children First National Guidelines.
Currently about 300,000 vetting applications are processed by the Garda Vetting Unit each year. The primary purpose of this Act is to put the procedures that have been developed to vet these applications into law. The Act also makes it mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted. Before, this was done on the basis of a voluntary code. The Act also creates offences and penalties for persons who fail to comply with the provisions of the Act.
The Act also provides for the use of "soft" information on vetting or "specified information" as it’s called in the Act. Specified information is information other than a court determined criminal record.
For example, it includes conclusions from investigations of child abuse or neglect by the Health Service Executive, where such investigations have concluded that a person poses a threat to children or vulnerable persons. Specified information will also include similar conclusions arising from fitness to practice inquiries by statutory bodies such as the Medical Council, the Nursing Council or the Teaching Council.