When employing staff, consideration should be given to the qualifications, training and experience of staff, as this will greatly influence the quality of the service you provide. You need to identify the particular roles needed to run a childcare service and work through the following list of procedures when recruiting staff:
- Job descriptions
- Short listing
- Record Keeping
- Contracts of Employment
- Staff Handbook including details on policies and procedures, code of ethics, personnel structures, wage structures, time keeping, dress code, hours of work, training
- Volunteers / students
- Staff communication, established lines of communication through staff meetings
- Work / life balance policy i.e. job sharing, flexible working hours
- Staff development
- Smoking ban guidelines for those who do smoke, i.e. distance from perimeter of service where smoking is allowed
It is essential that the staffing of the centre be in place before opening it to children and families.
Identify how many staff members will be needed, when they will work, what their responsibilities will be, how much they will be paid including benefits and staff training opportunities (should already be outlined in the business plan)
The next step is to begin advertising for staff at least 60 days in advance of the projects anticipated start date.
The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016, which came into effect on 29 April 2016, make it mandatory for people working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau.
You can read more information in these frequently asked questions about Garda vetting on the National Vetting Bureau website.
Garda Vetting is a crucial aspect of the recruitment and selection process for childcare providers to ensure that they are taking all reasonable steps to ensure that only suitable persons are recruited to work within their service. Garda vetting is also an essential requirement for all childcare providers, practitioners and Tusla registered childminders for all their staff, students and volunteers, under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016. Every service must have evidence of their Garda Vetting on the premises, for example, an original certificate confirming the completion of the Garda Vetting process.
Requirements within the regulations are:
- A registered provider shall ensure that each employee, unpaid worker and contractor is suitable and competent taking into consideration the nature of the needs of children, including by—
- (c) consideration of the vetting disclosure received from the National Vetting Bureau of the Garda Síochána in accordance with the Act of 2012 in respect of the person, and
- (d) ensuring, insofar as is practicable, that where a person has lived in a state other than the State for a period of longer than 6 consecutive months, he or she provides police vetting from the police authorities in that state.
- Garda Vetting shall be carried out prior to any person being appointed, assigned or allowed access to or contact with a child attending the pre-school service
This should be done:
- By reviewing past employer references in particular the most recent employer reference in respect of all staff
- By referring to references from reputable sources in respect of all students and volunteers
- By acquiring Garda vetting from An Garda Síochána when An Garda Síochána have set down procedures to make such vetting available
- In circumstances where Garda vetting is not available for staff, students and volunteers who have lived outside the jurisdiction, by ensuring that these persons provide the necessary police vetting from other public authorities.
It is good practice that all pre-school services have management, recruitment and training policies, including a policy regarding vetting and possible outcomes for both new and existing employees, students and volunteers.
It’s important to remember that Garda Vetting is only one step in protecting the safety and welfare of the children in your care. Having a written Child Protection Policy and Procedures and ensuring parents are aware of such procedures is another aspect, as is training in the Children First: Child Protection programme. Employers should also obtain and validate or check at least two written references prior to the final recruitment stage.
- Good practice would also suggest that services have existing staff vetted every three years.
Please note: This legislation was relevant at time of publication (this legislation is regularly updated and changed and so needs to be reviewed regularly)
Print Employment Legislation
Staff Team Support and Development
A staff "Supervision Policy" is now a requirement of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016. According to the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 a "supervision policy" means a "policy specifying the manner in which employees, unpaid workers and contractors are superised abd supported in the service inrelation to their work practices"