Vetting and Child Safeguarding Training – what are the regulations in the GAA?
Legislation and GAA rules require that any person working in a ‘relevant role’ or as we term it ‘a role of responsibility’ with children or vulnerable persons must be vetted. This now applies on an All-Ireland basis. Vetting carried out by one of the Gaelic Games Associations e.g. GAA will also be recognised by LGFA and By Camogie and vice versa. These requirements apply to our coaches and mentors of underage teams, referees of underage games, bus drivers employed to drive children or physios employed by the club and any other person deemed by the club to have a direct role of responsibility with children at Club level.
Attendance at Child Safeguarding training also applies to our underage coaches and mentors as does the requirement that they have a minimum coach education recognition e.g. Foundation level as a minimum. Please remember that as a result of a long standing agreement between the Gaelic Games Associations, any person vetted by the GAA shall have their vetting outcome recognised by LGFA and Camogie and do not have to undertake additional vetting by either of these Associations. Similarly, each of these Associations recognise each other’s child safeguarding training as well.
Has there been an increase in vetting applications to the GAA lately?
Yes there has been an increase in the usual number of vetting applications in the last few months. It appears that this increase can be attributed to applications from people who had not been vetted to date, the annual influx of new coaches who require to be vetted, plus Féile related applications which usually commence at this time of the year. Some of the recent applications are also undoubtedly due to an awareness of legislation that compels all person working (in a role of responsibility) with children to be vetted prior to working with children while other applications are in response to GAA child safeguarding procedures that have been in place for a number of years.
Can we vet other people, apart from coaches, if deemed necessary?
If a person is deemed by the club to have a direct role of responsibility with children at Club they shall be vetted. Please use common sense when making such decisions on additional vetting and avoid introducing a blanket introduction of vetting, regardless of role. Similarly with AccessNI vetting, a specific role when working with children must be specified.
Does everybody who is in proximity of children have to be vetted?
In so far as there is a general acceptance in society, notwithstanding our legal obligations, that vetting is vital as it contributes to the overall recruitment process of an adult who wishes to work with children unnecessary vetting can have a detrimental and negative impact on our services and can undervalue the benefits of vetting.
For some reason a small number of clubs are asking the following to be vetted which is NOT in keeping with our vetting requirements and minimises the central role that vetting plays in recruiting people.
We highlight here but a few examples that do a disservice to the merits of vetting in the GAA, LGFA or Camogie.
• Parents on the sideline who turn up to watch their children play – do NOT require vetting
• Transition Year students putting out cones or goals at a nursery or showing how to solo or catch a ball in a noncoaching role – do NOT require vetting
• A parent who has been asked by a referee to stand in and do umpiring – does NOT require vetting
• Obliging parents who provide tea and sandwiches to visiting teams – do NOT require vetting.
What if your Club has a Go Games referee or a referee under 16 yrs. of age who can’t be vetted?
Legislation does not permit us to vet people under 16 yrs. of age. In some instances young referrers under 16 yrs. of age, having Football Hurling Club General successfully qualified as referees or young whistlers, are anxious to commence their role with games organised for appropriate age groups. Rather than force a referee to wait a year or longer to commence their role Clubs should appoint an adult, who has been vetted, to act in a supervisory capacity and to accompany and monitor the young referee at their games. Once they reach their 16th birthday they can then be vetted, with parental permission.
Where can a club get a list of personnel in their club who are vetted?
Given the legal requirements to ensure that relevant personnel in Clubs are vetted we are obliged to assist Clubs in identifying such vetted personnel in their Club only. This allows a Club to know who is and who is not vetted. If a Club requires a list of vetted personnel in their Club they can seek this list from their County Secretary who was issued with a Club by Club list earlier this year while any personnel vetted in the meantime will have been made known to the Club Secretary as they continue to automatically receive a copy of the vetting acceptance letter for each person vetted in their club.
Is there also an increase in those attending Child Safeguarding Training?
As Child safeguarding Training is also mandatory in law for those working with children, similar increases in demand and attendances have been experienced by the Gaelic Games Associations who have agreed three levels of child safeguarding training that have been designed to be relevant to specific roles. Safeguarding 1 is for coaches etc., Safeguarding 2 is for Club Children’s Officers and Safeguarding 3 is for Designated Liaison Persons (DLPs). With over 100 Tutors now qualified to deliver this safeguarding training Club Children’s Officers may contact a Tutor directly or via their County Children’s Officer and seek a date suitable for delivering the safeguarding training in their Club. Contact details for Child Safeguarding Tutors may be accessed at http://www.gaa. ie/the-gaa/child-welfare-and-protection/ child-welfare-trainers
Clubs should be aware that if they host or organise a Foundation Level coaching workshop that the participants on the course must complete the Child Safeguarding Training as part of the workshop, if they wish to receive their Foundation certificate, unless of course they have previously attended Gaelic Games Child Safeguarding Training and received their certificate of attendance.
Who else requires Child Safeguarding Training?
Children’s Officers should attend the Gaelic Games Children’s Officers Safeguarding 2 workshop and Designated Liaison Persons should attend the agreed Gaelic Games Safeguarding 3 training for DLPs. A new safeguarding training programme for Cúl Camp and Club Camp assistants which was launched last year may also be suitable for some club personnel working at these events. All information available from your County Children’s Officer.
Will attendance at safeguarding training workshops outside of the GAA be recognised instead of our own internal safeguarding training?
A number of years ago the GAA (also representing Handball and Rounders) plus LGFA and Camogie agreed that we would join forces and design a series of joint child safeguarding training programmes suitable to the child safeguarding roles we have in our Associations e.g. safeguarding for coaches, for Children’s Officers and for DLPs. Over a period of time we agreed the contents of three such courses in workshop format that have been endorsed by Sport Ireland and they all reference our joint codes our policies and our practices. When an individual attends an external or non-Gaelic Games Safeguarding workshop or completes an on-line these workshops, by their very nature, do not reference any Gaelic Games Associations’ policies or procedures. Many if not most of these external workshop are specific to their own Association e.g. a different sports association, a youth group or a church group. It is for this reason that we do not accept attendance at such workshops as fulfilling their obligations of attendance at safeguarding training. The only exception to this practice is that on a temporary basis we accept attendance at a Sport Ireland workshops which are all non-association referenced workshops, the temporary nature is acceptable provided the participant agrees to attend the Gaelic Games equivalent within an agreed period of time.
Risk Assessment and Child Safeguarding Statement:
Please be reminded that the legal requirement for Clubs to carry out a Risk Assessment of harm to children in the Club plus the need to put the Child Safeguarding Statement on display should have been completed by Sunday 11 March 2018. Check out http://www.gaa.ie/the-gaa/child-welfare-and-protection/children-first for this information.
If your Risk Assessment at Club level shows that some personnel must still be vetted or have yet to complete child safeguarding training then record this is the risk assessment document.
New booklet issued on ‘Maintaining appropriate levels of behaviour in our work with children and young people’
We have just issued a new booklet that will be most useful to clubs in promoting and maintaining appropriate behaviour by coaches, players, parents etc. Titled ‘Maintaining appropriate levels of behaviour in our work with children and young people’ this booklet replaces the old Code of Behaviour and shall be distributed to those who attend our Child Protection in Sport Awareness Workshop (Safeguarding 1) and may also be distributed to coaches and others at Club level indicating the levels of behaviour that we expect.