The Diocese of Meath acknowledges that safe care starts with the appointment of suitably qualified, skilled and Garda vetted personnel who have the desired competencies and skills to carry out their function in an effective, efficient and safe manner. Whoever is employed by the Church either in a pastoral or voluntary role must be recruited safely and deemed suitable for the role that they are being asked to undertake. In order to uphold safe practices in relation to recruitment of personnel (religious and lay) the Diocese of Meath will ensure that:
- Safe recruitment procedures are applied to all applicants
- All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the Church eliminates applicants who might pose a risk to children
- Those engaged in the recruitment processes are suitably trained and experienced to undertake this task.
- Recruitment processes are transparent, adhere to best practice and comply with the rules of natural justice, record keeping and human resource management.
The Church is committed to the policy of inclusion and equality.
Appointment procedures (clerics/religious)
For clerics/religious who are part of the Diocese in which they are ministering, the following procedure must be completed. All priests and religious should have gone through a formation programme that should include safeguarding children. In addition to this, the diocese will ensure the following takes place prior to any appointment:
- the cleric or religious signs the agreement form on following the Church’s policy and child safeguarding standards; (S4.6)
- the cleric/religious signs a declaration form stating that here is no reason why they would be considered unsuitable to work with children (S4.4);
- require the cleric/religious to undergo relevant vetting/clearance procedures; (1.2)
- the cleric/religious attends training, in particular child safeguarding training detailed under Standard 5: Training and Support for Keeping Children Safe (1.25).
- the cleric is inducted in the Church’s child safeguarding policy and agrees to follow the policy and the procedures of the diocese by signing an agreement form (S4.6);
- the cleric agrees to work within the diocesan code of behaviour.
If a cleric or religious is not part of the Diocese and applies for a voluntary or paid role within the Diocese, they must follow the recruitment procedures for paid or voluntary staff. If the cleric or religious is visiting the Diocese and is seeking to minister, the procedures outlined in 1.16 (Visiting Clergy) – must be followed.
Recruitment Procedures (paid staff)
The following procedures apply to the process of all appointments. It should be noted that these procedures do not affect the applicant’s rights under the relevant employment legislation.
- Use a Recruitment and Selection Checklist (S4.1) to ensure that effective practices are followed.
- Use an Application Form (S 4.2) including reference requests
- Interview applicants to discuss their application form. This will include applicants being advised of their responsibilities towards children and their assessment of suitability will include an awareness of child protection and safe care practices.
- Interview boards will be comprised of experienced and qualified personnel, with a proven ability to extract and explore the information which the candidate has included on the application form.
- All paperwork associated with the application process will be kept in accordance with record storage policy (See Appendix 3). All references, reports and communications in respect of the applicant should be in writing, and access to them will only be available to appropriate personnel within the Church. Candidates will be advised that their application and the follow-up process of recruitment will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
- The successful applicant will be offered a position subject to
a) Suitable references (S 4.3)
b) Signing a declaration form stating that there is no known reason or event that would render them unsuitable for the post (S4.4)
c) Proof of qualifications, where applicable
d) Relevant vetting / clearance procedures (1.2)
e) Positive proof of identification.
- It should be noted that any lay person who is coming to work or volunteer in Ireland, who worked or volunteered in another country for more than one year, must provide a certificate of police clearance from the country or countries in which they have lived for a year or more, prior to coming to Ireland. Advice and support in obtaining a police clearance certificate can be found at www.fingerscan.ca and also at www.coru.ie/en/registration/police_clearance.
Once appointed, the following elements are critical:
- Ensure probationary periods are served, where appropriate;
- Ensure that the member of Church personnel is inducted in the Church’s child safeguarding Policy and that they agree to follow the policy and the procedures of the Diocese by signing an agreement form (S4. 6).
- Ensure professional support, supervision and appraisals are offered to Church personnel, where appropriate 1.28 (Support and supervision)
- Provide ongoing training to Church personnel, in particular child safeguarding training detailed under Standard 5: Training and Support for Keeping Children Safe.
Recruitment procedures (volunteers)
Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that all volunteers who work with children in the Church are assessed as ‘safe’. This includes conducting the following procedures for all volunteers:
• Vetting through the Garda Vetting Bureau if required. It should be noted that any lay person who is coming to work or volunteer in Ireland, who worked or volunteered in another country for more than one year, must provide a certificate of police clearance from the country or countries in which they have lived for a year or more, prior to coming to Ireland. Advice and support in obtaining a police clearance certificate can be found at www.fingerscan.ca and also at www.coru.ie/en/registration/police_clearance;
• If the volunteer does not meet the requirement for vetting then the volunteer must sign a declaration form (S4.4) stating that there is no reason why they would be considered unsuitable to work with children;
• Ensuring the volunteer is inducted in the Church’s child safeguarding policy and that they agree to follow the policy and the procedures of the Diocese by signing an agreement form (S4.6);
• Ensuring the volunteer agrees to work within the diocesan code of behaviour (S 4.7);
• Ensuring the volunteer agrees to report all safeguarding concerns to the DLP;
• Considering whether to ask the volunteer to complete an adapted version of the application form if it is relevant to the role.
Once appointed the following will be provided:
- probationary periods, where appropriate
- an induction programme in order to maintain standards and good practice
- professional support, supervision and appraisals as appropriate
- training, in particular safeguarding training detailed under Standard 5 “Training and Support for keeping children safe”