In an earlier essay, 28 Questions Your Board of Directors Could Ask You About Identity Verification, we looked at how verifying that people are who they say the are is one of the most fundamental checks a volunteer manager needs to carry out. Simply put, identity checks are required to combat identity crime, which is defined as the creation of a false identity or the use of someone else's identity in order to commit a criminal offence.
In the 4 Main Functions of the new National Vetting Bureau essay, we established that one of the duties of the new National Vetting Bureau was to ensure that it made enquiries that enabled it to carry out its statutory functions.
Section 7(2)(d) of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2015, is the Irish legislative safeguard put in place to ensure that people are correctly identified as part of the process of applying for a vetting disclosure to work with children or vulnerable adults in certain types of work in certain types of organisations.
The making of such enquiries as the Bureau deems necessary for the purposes of establishing the identity of the persons concerned.
s.7(2)(d) National Vetting Bureau Acts 2012 to 2016
This duty falls under what I call one of the Bureau’s ‘external’ enquiries. In order for the Bureau to meet this duty, it has to establish the identity of the person applying for a vetting disclosure.
Which begs the question: how does the Bureau satisfy itself that a person's identity has been validated?
This essay answers that question.
On the National Vetting Bureau’s website one of the Frequently Asked Questions is this:
1. HOW WILL RELEVANT ORGANISATIONS VERIFY THE IDENTITY OF A PERSON?
Based on an internationally recognised system of identity validation, the Irish process now requires that a person's identity is validated by production of documents that, taken together, have a combined 'value' of more than 100 points. Categories of documents are given different values or weighting, depending on how 'trusted' they're perceived to be. (For more, see Number 20, So Are All Documents Created Equal?).
For the purpose of this essay, we’re going to take a look at the form used by the Football Association of Ireland for the purpose of validating a person’s identity.
2. FAI PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION FOR GARDA VETTING
- Must be completed prior to submitting a vetting application
- Must be signed by an Authorised Person
- Must be accompanied by copies of the documents used to validate the person’s identity
- Must accompany the person’s completed vetting application form (Form NVB 2)
3. SECTION 1 – TO BE COMPLETED BY APPLICANT
It's essential that all forms are completed to the best of a person's ability. This section states that the Applicant - the person applying to volunteer with a club - completes this section.
4. IDENTIFICATION DETAILS
The important point here is that while it's the Applicant's responsibility to complete Section 1, the obligation is on the Authorised Person - the person within the club with the relevant senior authority to validate documents - is satisfied that the identification details provided stack up (i.e. are accurate).
5. FULL NAME
It’s critical here that the name of the person whose documents are being validated, matches up with the name of the person on the Garda Vetting application form.
6. CURRENT ADDRESS
Although the form doesn't specify it, bear in mind that the vetting form (NVB 2) makes it a mandatory requirement that an Eircode/postcode is given for the current address of the Applicant. It remains to be seen if the absence of an Eircode/postcode on the identity validation form will cause issues if it's absent from the ID validation form, but present on the vetting form NVB 2.
7. DATE OF BIRTH
It would be sensible to follow the date of birth format in the vetting form i.e. DD / MM / YYYY, as can be seen here.
Email isn't mandatory on vetting form NVB 2 but according to the FAI ID validation form, it is here. Your applicant's going to have to ensure that they write clearly and in not too large letters as there's not much space here.
9. PHONE NUMBER
Most people today don't have landlines so an applicant's mobile phone number would go here in the absence of a landline number.
10. ROLE OR POSITION BEING VETTED FOR
This section ties into the importance of an organisation having a clear 'role description', as ultimately this is the role which is being applied for by the person. We'll explore role descriptions in another essay, but for the moment just have a think about the importance of having role descriptions that accurately reflect the job being done, but which at the same time are sufficiently general to encompass future roles that might be required (should your organisation allow it).
This should be straightforward, but from a club perspective, it's important that applicants are clear as to how you're known (a full club name is likely to be best, and not initials).
While some persons applying into a club may be familiar with the name of the league in which a club plays, many people won't be so familiar; and indeed often clubs play in multiple leagues. Where multiples leagues are played it may be best to list them all, or the one in which the majority of play is concentrated.
13. NATIONAL BODY AND/OR PROVINCIAL ASSOCIATION
This appears to be of more relevance to members of the football family assisting in more regional / provincial levels. Given that the form says its mandatory to complete this section, clarification may need to be sought on what to put here.
14. SECTION 2 – TO BE SIGNED BY AN AUTHORISED PERSON
We'll have a look below at exactly who is an 'Authorised Person'. For the moment just know that Section 2 is now the job of the Authorised Person, and the applicant shouldnt' be completing this section.
15. CONFIRMS THE FOLLOWING:
A number of important declarations are made by the Authorised Person here. Let's have a look at them.
16. I HAVE CHECKED THE IDENTITY OF THE APPLICANT
Some clubs are going to be tripping up right at the outset. There is a practice whereby some organisations and club ask applicants simply to post them or provide them with the copy documents intended to accompany the vetting form. If an Authorised Person fails to inspect the original documents, then the Authorised Person is in breach of his requirements around identity validation (and would be making the above declaration in bad faith). You must inspect the original documentation. (This link here explains the circumstances in which copy documents may be considered acceptable).
17. AGAINST THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS PROVIDED BY THE APPLICANT TO ME
This relates the paragraph above. Not seen the original documents? Don't make declaration or you're leaving yourself exposed if it turns out in the future that the copy documents provided to you were fraudulent.
18. I CONFIRM THAT THIS IS THE PERSON APPLYING FOR GARDA VETTING
There's a slight grey area here, as an Authorised Person at club level isn't expected to inspect an applicant's completed vetting form, as this is a job for the Liaison Person in the relevant organisation. But how can they match up the identity of the person applying to them, without seeing the name of the person on the vetting form NVB 2? It may be that an Authorised Person will have to ask an applicant to show them their vetting form where their name is completed (and nothing else).
19. I HAVE INFORMED THE APPLICANT THIS INFORMATION WILL BE PASSED TO THE FAI
This is about ensuring that you have appropriate data protection consents in place for the processing of your applicant's personal data and sensitive personal data.
20. THEY HAVE AGREED TO SHARE THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION WITH THE FAI AND APPROPRIATE, RELEVANT ORGANISATIONS
Their consent is given in complying with the process of vetting. It is not possible to engage in the application process and not provide the relevant consents. (If a person doesn't consent, that's fine; they just will be required to abandon their application at this stage).
This is the name of the Authorised Person in the club, not the Applicant. The name should be completed in BLOCK CAPITALS with careful attention paid to spelling.
The Authorised Person's signature should go here.
This should be the official role within the club of the Authorised Person.
The club name should match that of the club name given by the applicant.
League details can be provided, if applicable.
26. NATIONAL BODY
It's not clear if this should always have the words Football Association of Ireland placed here, or FAI, or if left blank. This should be clarified.
27. PROVINCIAL ASSOCIATION
The same point applies for this section.
28. SECTION 3: GATHERING YOUR ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS
Section 3 alerts the applicant to the importance of gathering the correct identity documentation. It also sets out which people are authorised to validation an applicant's identity.
29. LIST OF PERSONS AUTHORISED TO VERIFY AN APPLICANTS IDENTITY AND SIGN THE FORM
People holding the following roles within football are automatically qualified as Authorised Persons for the purpose of identity validation:
- CHAIRMAN (DESIGNATED CHILD WELFARE OFFICER)
- CHILDREN’S OFFICER (DESIGNATED LIAISON OFFICER)
- FAI STAFF
- School Principal
- Commissioner for Oaths
One word of caution here if you rely on any of the 'other' people listed to carry out this process. Usually - in other areas where a person's identity is being validated - it's a requirement that if a professional person (which the Other jobs are) is used, they should also have a current licence to act as a professional. I.e. a retired Garda, non-practising solicitor etc wouldn't be sufficient.
30. REQUIREMENT TO VERIFY ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS IN PERSON
This is simply another reminder that there are new criminal offences created, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment, for knowingly making a false statement to either obtain for yourself, or to help someone else obtain, a vetting disclosure. Authorised Persons should take all steps to avoid finding themselves in this position.
31. WHO TO RETURN THE COMPLETED FORM TO
The form will be returned to the organisation's Liaison Person who will, unsurprisingly, liaise with the National Vetting Bureau for the processing of the person's application for vetting disclosure. This is usually done in the first instance by the Authorised Person who received the form, passing it to the Liaison Person.
32. LIST OF ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTS
Page 2 of the form lists out the acceptable documents.
An applicant only needs to produce enough documents (originals) to the Authorised Person, so that they Authorised Person can add the value of the documents up and that total exceeds 100. Although this form doesn't spell it out, the National Vetting Bureau do require that one of those documents should include photographic identification.
33. 100 POINT MINIMUM REQUIREMENT
34. IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENT - PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE
35. CHILDREN UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE
The case is slightly different for children under 18, who obviously won't have the same level of of documentation as an adult would be expected to have.
36. RECENT ARRIVAL IN IRELAND
This is a bit of an outlier, and is presumably meant to cover situations such as a family moving from overseas. It would be prudent to ensure that relevant identity documents are still sought if possible.
37. VETTING SUBJECT UNABLE TO REACH 100 POINTS
In the unlikely event that your applicant can't provide documents that get them to the 100 point plus mark (and remember: 100 points is the bare minimum required), then there's a process whereby they can try and get an affidavit to help plug the gap in their identity history. The advice below is taken from the form itself.
**An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by a person. It is a document that sets out in paragraph form the evidence that the witness wishes to give. Affidavits are usually written and prepared by a solicitor or a barrister after having obtained all the necessary information from the witness. The wording used in the affidavit will depend on the circumstances of the case. Your solicitor can give you more information on the wording that will be used.
When the affidavit is ready, the witness must go before a Commissioner for Oaths. The Commissioner for Oaths will check that the person swearing the oath has read the affidavit and fully understands the contents. The person will be asked to raise the Bible and to repeat the words of the oath. If the witness does not wish to swear an oath on the Bible, he or she may make an affirmation. He or she will then sign the affidavit.
The Commissioner for Oaths will verify that the affidavit was properly sworn by completing a jurat on the affidavit.
If you still think identity validation is complete overkill and a waste of everyone's time, have a read of this article here. Regardless of your views, it's now a statutory requirement. Authorised Persons would do well to make sure that they don't inadvertently put themselves in the firing line of the legislation by, for example, not bothering to look at original identity documentation, and just 'trusting' that they applicants have provided documents in good faith. While of course let's say 99% + will do so, the purpose of this step in your volunteer recruitment process is to guard against the one person deliberately trying to pull the wool over your eyes as their correct identity.
If you're an Authorised Person, don't let that person be you.
This essay is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.
Specific legal advice from a firm of solicitors should always be sought on the application of the law in any particular situation.
Whilst all reasonable endeavours have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, no liability whatsoever is accepted for any omissions or errors or for any action taken in reliance of the information in this essay.