Police vetting for schools and kura Māori

Police vetting is part of the safety checking process your school or kura Māori must do when employing or engaging staff - as part of your responsibilities under both the Education Act 1989 and the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

What is a police vet?

A police vet is a search of the information held by NZ police about an individual. It checks for a criminal history and may also provide other information about that person held by the police.

For overseas workers, we recommend getting copies of police certificates from the relevant countries.   

If a new offence specified under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (external link)  comes to the attention of NZ Police after the vet results have been issued for an individual, they are able to contact the employing or contracting organisation who obtained the vet to alert them to this new information.

Who needs to be police vetted

All children's workers need to be police vetted. This includes staff employed and other children's workers engaged (whether you contract them or not) in your school or kura Māori, whose work involves regular or overnight contact with children.

When you need to request a police vet

You need to request a police vet for anyone you employ or contract (including the contractors employees) to work during normal school hours, and for contractors and their employees who have or are likely to have unsupervised access to children. The exception to this is any registered teacher including principals or relief teachers (under the Education Act 1989).

When you can use a police vet from another agency

You can rely on (trust) the police vetting and other safety checks for other children’s workers not required under the Education Act above, under the VCA 2014.

Volunteers don't need to be police vetted under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 or the Education Act 1989.

What checks do I need to undertake for adults coming into my school or kura Māori (external link)  will assist you with determining what level of safety checking and police vetting is required.

The Vetting Process

When a Vet needs to be done

Police vets must be obtained as part of the broader safety check required under the VCA before the person starts work. Police vets must be renewed every 3 years.

Allow enough time for your police vet request to be processed

It usually takes 20 days for a police vet to be processed, but at peak times it may take longer. Submit your request as soon as possible for new employees or contractors, and plan ahead for police vets expiring in the next few months.

Requesting a police vet

Only approved agencies can request a police vet. All schools and kura Māori can register to be an approved agency and request police vets through the NZ Police Vetting Service (external link)

You must get the agreement of the person to be vetted first:

  • explain to the person being vetted how long the information will be kept and why.
  • send them the New Zealand Police Vetting Service Request and Consent Form to complete and sign.

The NZ Police can also complete an optional request for an Australian criminal history check. See the NZ Police vetting pages for more information.[LINK]

Overseas workers should request copies of police certificates from their countries of citizenship and from any country in which they have lived for one or more years within the last 10 years. The Education Council’s website (external link) contains more information about how this can be done.

Using vetting information

It’s up to your school or kura Māori to decide how to use the information in a police vet when deciding whether to recruit a person. The exception to this is if the police vet shows that a person has been convicted of an offence specified under the Vulnerable Children Act (external link) . In this case, the person cannot be employed or engaged as a core children’s worker, unless they have a Core Worker Exemption (CWE). (external link)

Note - a person who has been police vetted can ask to see the results and have the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies.

Managing vetting information

You must keep all police vets confidential and manage vetting information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 (external link) , the Public Records Act 2005 (external link) , and Circular 2006/19 – school records retention and disposal (external link) .

As good practice, we suggest your school or kura Māori maintain a record of the dates on which every person has been police vetted.

Sharing police vets with another agency

You can’t share a Police vet and can’t accept Police vetting information from other agencies to meet your requirements.  Vetting results are intended for the requesting agency only and are based on information they supplied about the role the person is fulfilling, or being recruited for, at the time.

 

Using police vets and broader safety checks completed by other organisations

There are some exceptions where schools and kura Māori can rely on Police vetting as part of a safety check, completed by other agencies as part of their own certifying, enrolment or employment processes. These are:

The Education Council

You are not required to request a police vet for a teacher (including a principal or relief teacher) who has been issued a current practicing certificate or limited authority to teach (LAT) by the Education Council.

The Education Act 1989 allows schools and kura Māori to rely on the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (Education Council) to police vet registered teachers and those with a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT). They are responsible for completing a police vet as part of deciding whether the individual is of good character and fit to hold a practising certificate or LAT.

The Education Council considers not only specified offences, under VCA Schedule 2, but considers all information and convictions in the police vet.  eg convictions for fraud or drug related offences that may give concern.  Registered teachers are expected to disclose any new convictions/ serious matters to the Education Council.

The Education Council will not share police vets with schools or kura Māori. More about the Education Council’s processes and requirements (external link) .

Employment agencies or tertiary providers

Relievers and students on practicum

Your school or kura Māori is able to rely on confirmation of police vetting and other components of a safety check for relief teachers supplied by an agency. You can also rely on confirmation from Initial Teacher Education providers and other tertiary organisations when hosting their students on practicum. 

If you source relievers independently rather than through an agency, you’ll need to complete all components of the safety check yourself, including the police vet. 

For more information about relying on safety checks completed on your behalf by other organisations, see part 4 of our VCA guide (external link)

Volunteers

Volunteers don't need to be police vetted under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 or the Education Act 1989.

Your school or kura Māori can choose whether to safety check (including whether to vet) their volunteers that support your school (this may be guided by your own child protection policies and any health and safety policy or procedures).

If your school or kura Māori chooses to police vet a volunteer, the vet request should be submitted to Police as a non-VCA vet (i.e. one that is not required by the VCA legislation). 

Go to more information on Volunteers

 

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