Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (482)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

482. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm the average time it takes for the Garda Síochána to process vetting applications; the measures he has taken to reduce the amount of time persons are waiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9643/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that the average processing time for vetting procedures at the Garda Central Vetting Unit is currently 8 to 10 weeks. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion.

The Garda Central Vetting Unit currently provides employment vetting for approximately 20,000 organisations in Ireland which employ personnel to work in a full time part time, voluntary or student capacity with children and or vulnerable adults and who are registered with the Unit for this purpose. All organisations are aware of the processing time frames for the receipt of vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection processes. T he Unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012. To ensure equity and fairness all applications are dealt with in chronological order from date of receipt.

It is my objective that processing times should be kept to a minimum, while maintaining the overall integrity of the vetting system. In that regard, following discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, I am pleased to announce that sanction was recently granted for an additional 25 staff to be re-deployed from the Department of Agriculture to the Unit in the near future.

The Deputy may wish to note that Garda Central Vetting Unit will become the National Vetting Bureau under the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and will have a substantially expanded role under that legislation. I am currently engaged with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in addressing the staffing issues relevant to the coming into force of the 2012 Act.