Police vetting for schools and kura Māori

Police vetting is part of the safety checking process a school or kura Māori must do when employing or engaging staff. This is a requirement of both the Education Act 1989 and the Children Act 2014.

What is a police vet?
Who is police vetted?
The vetting process
Using vetting information
Managing vetting information
Using police vets and broader safety checks completed by other organisations
Volunteers
Further information

What is a police vet?

A police vet is a search of the information held by New Zealand 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 under the Children’s Act 2014 comes to the attention of NZ Police after the vet results have been issued for an individual, they’re able to contact the employing or contracting organisation who obtained the vet to alert them to this new information.

Schedule 2: Specified offences, Children Act 2014 – NZ Legislation website (external link)

Who is police vetted?

All children's workers need to be police vetted. This includes staff employed and other children's workers engaged (whether they’re contracted or not) at a school or kura Māori, whose work involves regular or overnight contact with children.

When to request a police vet

A school or kura Māori must request a police vet for anyone employed or contracted (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.

When a police vet from another agency can be used

A school or kura Māori can rely on (trust) the police vetting and other safety checks for other children’s workers not required under the Education Act, under the Children Act 2014.

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

The following Ministry resource can help determine what level of safety checking and police vetting is required for a school or kura Māori.

What checks do I need to undertake for adults coming into my school or kura Māori? [PDF, 55 KB]

The vetting process

When a vet check needs to be done

Police vets must be obtained as part of the broader safety check required under the Children Act 2014 before the person starts work. Police vets must be renewed every 3 years.

Allowing enough time for checks 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.

Forms and Guides - NZ Police Vetting Service website (external link)

A school or kura Māori must get the agreement of the person to be vetted first. They should explain to the person being vetted how long the information will be kept and why, and send them the NZ 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.

Vetting process – NZ Police website (external link)

Overseas workers should request copies of police certificates from their countries of citizenship and from any country in which they have lived for 1 or more years within the last 10 years.

Visit the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (TCANZ) website for more information about how this can be done.

Overseas police clearance – TCANZ website (external link)

Using vetting information

It’s up to a 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 Children Act 2014.

Schedule 2: Specified offences, Children Act 2014 – NZ Legislation website (external link)

In this case, the person can’t be employed or engaged as a core children’s worker, unless they have a Core Worker Exemption (CWE).

Core Worker Exemption – Oranga Tamariki website (external link)

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

Managing vetting information

A school or kura Māori must keep all police vets confidential and manage vetting information in accordance with the:

Privacy Act 1993 – NZ Legislation website (external link)

Public Records Act 2005 – NZ Legislation website (external link)

Circular 2006/19 – school records retention and disposal (external link)

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

Sharing police vets with another agency

A school or kura Māori can’t share a police vet and can’t accept police vetting information from other agencies to meet their requirements. Vetting results are intended for the requesting agency only and are based on information the school or kura Māori 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.

Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

A school or kura Māori isn’t 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 Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (Teaching Council).

The Education Act 1989 allows schools and kura Māori to rely on the Teaching Council to police vet registered teachers and those with a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT). They’re 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 Teaching Council considers not only specified offences, under Schedule 2 of the Children Act 2014, but considers all information and convictions in the police vet, for example, convictions for fraud or drug related offences that may give concern. Registered teachers are expected to disclose any new convictions and serious matters to the Teaching Council.

The Teaching Council won’t share police vets with schools or kura Māori.

Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website (external link)

Employment agencies or tertiary providers

Relievers and students on practicum

A 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. They can also rely on confirmation from Initial Teacher Education providers and other tertiary organisations when hosting their students on practicum.

If a school or kura Māori sources relievers independently rather than through an agency, they’ll need to complete all components of the safety check themselves, including the police vet.

For more information about relying on safety checks completed on behalf of a school or kura Māori by other organisations, see Part 4 of our Children Act 2014 guide.

Children Act 2014 requirements for schools and kura (external link)

Volunteers

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

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

If a school or kura Māori chooses to police vet a volunteer, the vet request should be submitted to Police as a non-Children Act 2014 vet (that is, one that isn’t required by the Children Act 2014 legislation).

Safety checking steps – Children Act 2014 guide [PDF, 5.2 MB]

Further information

Information on police vetting for ECEs

New Zealand Police website (external link)

If you have any questions email:

ssci.programme@education.govt.nz

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