21 Oct 2019

Teachers face longer wait times for police vetting

7:02 am on 21 October 2019

Teachers are being warned to apply for practising certificates three months ahead, because a deal giving them speedy police vetting has ended.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Teaching Council has issued the warning, recommending teachers submit their applications early, so they don't face delays to the essential certification.

Previously 90 percent of the council's vetting requests were completed within five working days. But a deal that allowed the quick processing expired in the middle of the year, and police now aim to respond to most applications within their standard time of 20 working days.

The council says most of its requests are resolved within the four-week time period.

"For the month of September, 66 percent of our vetting requests were released within 11 to 20 working days. Thirty-three percent ... were released within one to ten working days," it said.

The council makes up to 40,500 vetting requests a year.

It doesn't pay for the service because it is a charity, but the faster processing services had been funded by money provided by the government.

A police check is required for anyone registering as a teacher or renewing their teaching practising certificate.

Before RNZ inquiries, the council's website recommended teachers apply for the certificates six months ahead, because police vetting could take up to four months.

The website no longer mentions the potential length of delays, and recommends applications are made three months in advance.

Police said they offered to continue the faster vetting service for the Teaching Council, but the council was unable to take up the offer.

They said they received 600,000 vetting requests in the last financial year and 30 percent of those were related to schools and early childhood services.

About 89 percent of vetting requests are currently processed within 20 working days.

Delays might be caused by people providing unclear information, or when the vetting service seeks additional information from within police or the courts.

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