Erasmus+ Youth in Action: Vetting and Child Protection

Erasmus+ Youth in Action: Vetting and Child Protection

Erasmus+ Youth in Action: Vetting and Child Protection

Tue, May 10th, 2016

Lorraine-Gilligan

Lorraine Gilligan, Youth and Adult Education Manager in Léargas

In early May, a number of staff from Léargas were delighted to have the opportunity to attend a seminar hosted by NYCI outlining the impact of new legislation here in Ireland on Vetting. It was an excellent presentation of what’s involved for those working in the Youth Sector and helped clarify the approach for those who work in Erasmus+ Youth in Action. Here, Lorraine Gilligan, Manager for the Youth and Adult Education Client Services Unit, outlines what’s involved.

Brief overview

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 came into effect on 29 April 2016.  These Acts provide a legislative basis for the vetting of persons who seek positions of employment relating to children or vulnerable persons. Previously, persons applying for such positions were vetted on a non-statutory basis, however, these Acts make vetting mandatory in certain situations. From commencement of the Acts, the Garda Central Vetting Unit will be known as the National Vetting Bureau (NVB).

Organisations will be responsible for ensuring that those involved in ‘relevant work or activity’ on behalf of the organisation are vetted before starting this work.  ‘Relevant work or activity’ includes any work or activity carried out by a person where a necessary and regular part of it consists of having access to–or contact with–children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Organisations must vet everyone who falls into this category even if they have never set foot in Ireland before. Organisations are encouraged to ensure that they fully understand the requirements on them as regards the new legislation.

What this means for your Erasmus+ project

Of course, many of you will have a vetting policy in place which may already clarify or dictate your approach to eVetting (see Step 5 below!) in the context of Erasmus+.  And you should always ensure that you are working on the basis of a considered organisational or affiliation-based approach.

In general, vetting/eVetting in Erasmus+ Youth in Action will mean that:

  • you may need to carry out vetting for EVS volunteers in advance of their voluntary service if the definition of relevant work or activity applies
  • you may need to carry out vetting of youth workers/leaders who are taking part in job shadowing or any work where the definition of relevant work applies
  • you may need to carry out vetting of young people who are active as peer leaders in any work where the definition of relevant work applies.

When the Act will not apply

The Act will not apply where a person gives assistance on an occasional (now and then) basis at a school, sports or community event or activity except where such assistance includes the coaching, mentoring, counselling, teaching or training of children or vulnerable persons.

It is our interpretation that International Youth Exchanges generally fall into this category of ‘occasional basis’ and so the international group leaders would not require mandatory vetting.  However, you should always comply with your own organisational vetting procedure and always ensure full understanding and compliance with Child Protection practices for all leaders working with young people in International Youth Exchanges.

What is the vetting process?

Once you decide that you need to carry out vetting of your Erasmus+ youth work partners or volunteers, the process will be the same as any other vetting process:

  1. Your organisation must issue a Vetting Invitation to the individual(s).
  2. The individual(s) must return the completed signed original version(s) to your organisation, along with:
    –proof of identify (from the approved list, e.g. copy of passport etc.)
    –proof of address (from the approved list)
    –Police Certificate from their country of origin.
  3. Your organisation is responsible for validating the proof of identity, making copies of documents and so on
    (this should be done according to the Verification of Identity 100 point check; it can be done during meetings, APVs and/or in combination with Skype activities, references etc.).
  4. Attach the verified documents to the Vetting Invitation form and submit them through your normal vetting Liaison Person.
  5. The National Vetting Bureau will issue an email to the individual(s) linking them to their form for completion and submission (this is the ‘e’ in eVetting). Once submitted the vetting will be carried out and disclosures will be reported.

Finally:

Remember Vetting/eVetting must be completed and verified before the individual can start the activity. But remember too, vetting is only one element of the recruitment procedures that your organisation should have in place and does not, on its own, create a safe environment for the children or vulnerable adults you work with.  Vetting complements other safe-guarding tools including your application form, reference checks (both written and verbal), face-to-face meetings (including via Skype), as well as having workers/volunteers from abroad police-vetted in their country of origin where relevant.  Vetting should form part of your organisation’s overarching policy and procedures for Child Protection or the protection of Vulnerable Adults.

If you have questions about Vetting legislation and your compliance you should check with your head office/management or the Child Protection Programme in NYCI at vetting@nyci.ie

If you have questions regarding vetting Erasmus+ Youth in Action participants, please email YouthAdultEdUnit@leargas.ie.


Léargas welcomes contributions to ‘Insights’ at comms@leargas.ie. 

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