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Police vetting underfunded: educators

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/09/2016

The Early Childhood Council says delays in police vetting is causing "big problems" for getting staff approved to teach pre-schoolers.

It says police figures show that more than 35,000, or almost three quarters, of August's police checks on those set to work with children, older people and the vulnerable were delivered after the 20-working-day maximum.

The situation was getting worse, not better.

Early childhood centres had interviewed applicants for jobs, undertaken identity verification, qualification verification and reference checking, and selected a candidate only to find they were waiting "long periods" for vetting, says council chief executive Peter Reynolds.

It was causing big problems, he said.

"Children might have three to five teachers in a couple of months covering just one teaching position - the one who leaves the job, the temporary teachers who fill in while the police fail to deliver the vet check, and then the new permanent teacher."

Vetting delays meant more stress for centres, and "a stability-disrupting reliance on temporary staff", he said.

Mr Reynolds said the council was supported the Vulnerable Children's Act that had created the increase in demand for police vetting.

"What we do not support, however, is the failure of government and the police to deliver a basic service in a timely manner, and the disruption to child services that has occurred as a result."

In response, Inspector Mal Schwartfeger says they have noticed the rise in vetting requests and are bolstering Vetting Service numbers.

Twenty-three staff were employed but that should increase to 28 later, he said.

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