Teaching Council Act 2001

Inquiry by Investigating Committee.

42

42. F38 [ (1) A person (including the Council) may make a complaint to the Investigating Committee in relation to a registered teacher, and the Committee may consider the complaint, where that complaint concerns any of the following matters in relation to the registered teacher:

(a) that he or she has failed to comply with, or has contravened, any provision of this Act, the Act of 1998, the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 , the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 , the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 or any regulations, rules or orders made under those Acts;

(b) that his or her behaviour constitutes professional misconduct;

(c) poor professional performance;

(d) that he or she has engaged in conduct contrary to a code of professional conduct established by the Council under section 7(2)(b) ;

(e) that his or her registration is erroneous due to a false or fraudulent declaration or misrepresentation;

(f) that he or she is medically unfit to teach;

(g) that he or she has been convicted in the State of an offence triable on indictment or convicted outside the State of an offence consisting of acts or omissions that, if done or made in the State, would constitute an offence triable on indictment;

(h) that he or she has failed to comply with an undertaking or to take any action specified in a consent given in response to a request under section 43(6) . ]

F39 [ (1A) A person who makes a complaint under subsection (1) shall specify the conduct of the registered teacher giving rise to the person s complaint.

(1B) The Investigating Committee may consider a complaint relating to the matter specified at paragraph (b) of subsection (1) notwithstanding that the conduct to which the complaint relates occurred prior to the coming into operation of this Part where that conduct

(a) would have constituted a criminal offence at the time that conduct occurred, and

(b) is of such a nature as to reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that the teacher may

(i) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(ii) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(iii) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(iv) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(v) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person.

(1C) The Investigating Committee may consider a complaint concerned with any of the matters specified in paragraphs (a), (e) or (g) of subsection (1) notwithstanding that the matter to which the complaint relates occurred prior to the coming into operation of this Part.

(1D) The Council may make a complaint to the Investigating Committee in respect of a registered teacher in relation to information, other than in relation to specified information in respect of the registered teacher which relates to conduct of that registered teacher which occurred prior to the coming into operation of this Part where the conduct would not have constituted a criminal offence at the time the conduct occurred, contained in a vetting disclosure received by the Council on behalf of another relevant organisation the Council represents for the purpose of vetting procedures under the Act of 2012 on the grounds that that information is of such a nature as to reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that the teacher may

(a) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(b) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(c) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(d) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(e) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person.

(1E) The Council may make a complaint to the Investigating Committee under subsection (1)(g) in respect of a registered teacher on the basis of information contained in a vetting disclosure received by the Council on behalf of another relevant organisation the Council represents for the purpose of vetting procedures under the Act of 2012.

(1F) A complaint made under subsection (1) or subsection (1D) shall, subject to this section, be considered by the Investigating Committee.

(1G) A complaint made under subsection (1) may be made in so far as the complaint relates to professional misconduct or poor professional performance notwithstanding that the matter to which the complaint relates occurred outside the State. ]

F38 [ (2) A complaint made under subsection (1) or subsection (1D) shall be

(a) in writing,

(b) signed by the complainant, and

(c) accompanied by such documents and information as may be relevant to the complaint, including

(i) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1D) , a copy of the vetting disclosure referred to in that subsection and confirmation of the information contained in that disclosure which grounds the complaint under that subsection, and

(ii) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1)(g) to which subsection (1E) applies, a copy of the vetting disclosure referred to in subsection (1E) and confirmation of the information contained in the disclosure which grounds the complaint under subsection (1)(g) . ]

(3) F38 [ (a) Subject to paragraph (b) , the Director shall refer all complaints made under subsection (1) or subsection (1D) to the Investigating Committee. ]

( b)  The Director F38 [ may refuse to refer a complaint ] where—

(i) F38 [ the complaint ] does not satisfy the requirements of subsection (2), or

(ii) he or she considers that F38 [ the complaint ] is frivolous, vexatious, is made in bad faith or is an abuse of process.

F39 [ (c) For the purposes of considering whether to refuse to refer a complaint under paragraph (b) , the Director may

(i) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1D) , consider the information contained in the vetting disclosure in so far as the information grounds the complaint under, and in accordance with, that subsection, and

(ii) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1)(g) to which subsection (1E) applies, consider the information contained in the vetting disclosure in so far as the information grounds the complaint under subsection (1)(g) . ]

F39 [ (3A) Where

(a) a complaint under subsection (1) is made in relation to a registered teacher

(i) employed by a recognised school, an education and training board or a centre for education,

(ii) engaged in the delivery of home tuition, or

(iii) employed in teaching children or vulnerable persons,

(b) the Investigating Committee considers that the complaint is of such a nature as to reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that the teacher may

(i) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(ii) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(iii) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(iv) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(v) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person,

and

(c) the identity of the employer of that teacher who is the subject of that complaint is known to the Council,

the Investigating Committee shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, inform that employer of that teacher of the complaint and the nature of that concern.

(3B) Where

(a) a complaint under subsection (1D) is made in relation to a registered teacher

(i) employed by a recognised school, an education and training board or a centre for education,

(ii) engaged in the delivery of home tuition, or

(iii) employed in teaching vulnerable persons or children,

and

(b) the identity of the employer of that teacher the subject of that complaint is known to the Council,

the Investigating Committee shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, inform that employer of that teacher of the complaint and the nature of that concern. ]

(4) Where the Director F38 [ refuses to refer a complaint ] under subsection (3)(b), the Director shall, within 21 days of the decision, inform F38 [ the complainant ], by notice in writing, of the decision and the reasons for the decision and the notice shall state that F38 [ the complainant ] may appeal the decision to the Investigating Committee within 21 days of the date of service of the notice.

F39 [ (4A) Where an appeal is made by a complainant under subsection (4) within the time specified in that subsection, the Investigating Committee shall review the decision of the Director which is the subject of the appeal and either

(a) uphold that decision, or

(b) quash that decision and proceed to hold an inquiry in respect of that complaint under subsection (5)(a) . ]

(5) F38 [ (a) Subject to paragraph (b) , the Investigating Committee shall hold an inquiry into the fitness to teach of a registered teacher in respect of each complaint ]

F38 [ (i) referred to it by the Director under subsection (3)(a) , or

(ii) to which subsection (4A)(b) applies. ]

( b)  The Investigating Committee shall refuse to consider F38 [ a complaint ] referred to in paragraph (a) where—

(i) F38 [ the complaint ] does not relate to the fitness to teach of a registered teacher,

(ii) procedures established under sections 24 and 28 of the Education Act, 1998, F40 [ ] have not been exhausted, save where there are good and sufficient reasons for considering F38 [ the complaint ] notwithstanding that fact, or

(iii) F41 [ ]

F38 [ (6) Where the Investigating Committee refuses under paragraph (b) of subsection (5) to consider a complaint referred to in paragraph (a) of that subsection, the Investigating Committee shall, within 21 days of such refusal, by notice in writing inform the complainant of its decision to refuse and the reasons for that decision. ]

F38 [ (7) (a) Where the Investigating Committee decides to hold an inquiry, the Investigating Committee shall, within 21 days of making the decision, provide the registered teacher with

(i) a copy of the complaint and any documents and information accompanying the complaint including, in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1D) or a complaint made under subsection (1)(g) to which subsection (1E) applies, a copy of the vetting disclosure referred to in subsection (1D) or (1E) , as the case may be, and confirmation of the information contained in that disclosure which grounds the complaint under subsection (1D) or subsection (1)(g) , as the case may be, and

(ii) a notice stating that the registered teacher may make submissions in writing to the Investigating Committee within such time period as is specified in the notice, including submissions in relation to a vetting disclosure (if any) provided in accordance with subparagraph (i) .

(b) The Investigating Committee shall consider submissions (if any) made by the registered teacher concerned pursuant to paragraph (a)(ii) .

(c) The Investigating Committee may consider

(i) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1D) , the information contained in the vetting disclosure in so far as that information grounds the complaint under, and in accordance with, that subsection, and

(ii) in the case of a complaint made under subsection (1)(g) to which subsection (1E) applies, the information contained in the vetting disclosure in so far as the information grounds the complaint under subsection (1)(g) . ]

F39 [ (7A) (a) Where the Investigating Committee decides to hold an inquiry in respect of a registered teacher and the Committee considers that the complaint under subsection (1) is of such a nature as to reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that that teacher may

(i) harm any child or vulnerable person,

(ii) cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

(iii) put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

(iv) attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

(v) incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person,

the Committee shall request the Council to apply to the National Vetting Bureau for a vetting disclosure in respect of that teacher.

(b) Where the Investigating Committee receives a vetting disclosure under paragraph (a) it shall provide the registered teacher concerned with a copy of the disclosure and invite the teacher to make submissions in writing to the Committee in relation to the disclosure within such time period as is specified in the notice.

(c) The Investigating Committee shall consider submissions (if any) made by the registered teacher concerned under paragraph (b) .

(7B) Subject to subsection (7C) , the Investigating Committee may consider the information contained in a vetting disclosure obtained under subsection (7A) in so far as the information relates to the conduct the subject of the complaint, for the purposes of its inquiry.

(7C) Where a vetting disclosure obtained by the Council under subsection (7A) in respect of a teacher contains specified information and that specified information relates to conduct of the teacher which occurred prior to the coming into operation of section 20 of the Act of 2015, the Investigating Committee may not consider that information for the purposes of subsection (7B) unless the conduct concerned would have constituted a criminal offence at the time the conduct occurred. ]

(8) F38 [ (a) The Investigating Committee may, by notice in writing to the complainant, do one or more of the following:

(i) require the complainant to verify, by affidavit or otherwise, within such reasonable period as is specified in the notice, anything contained in the complaint under this section;

(ii) request the complainant to supply to the Committee, within such reasonable period as is specified in the notice, such additional information as the Committee may reasonably require relating to the matter which is the subject of the complaint;

(iii) require that the information requested under subparagraph (ii) be supplied by the complainant by means of a statutory declaration;

(iv) require the complainant to supply to the Committee, within such reasonable period as is specified in the notice, such documents as the Committee may reasonably require relating to the complaint as are specified in the notice. ]

F39 [ (aa) The Investigating Committee may refuse to consider or further consider a complaint under this section if the complainant, without reasonable excuse, does not comply with a notice under paragraph (a) within the period of time specified in the notice.

(ab) The Investigating Committee may, by notice in writing to the registered teacher who is the subject of a complaint under this section, require the teacher to furnish to the Committee within such reasonable period of time as is specified in the notice, such information or documents relating to the complaint as is specified in the notice.

(ac) A registered teacher shall comply with a notice given to him or her under paragraph (ab) .

(ad) The Investigating Committee may, for the purposes of considering a complaint under this section

(i) require

(I) any school where the teacher is or was employed as a teacher, or

(II) any other person the Committee has reason to believe holds information that is material to the complaint under consideration,

to provide such information or documents that may reasonably be required by the Committee within such reasonable period of time as is specified in writing by that Committee to the school or other person concerned, and

(ii) obtain such expert advice or assistance as it considers appropriate.

(ae) A school or other person referred to in paragraph (ad)(i) shall comply with the requirement within the period of time specified in writing by the Committee.

(af) The Investigating Committee may, for the purposes of considering a complaint under this section, by notice in writing invite any school where the teacher is or was employed as a teacher to make submissions in writing to the Committee within 21 days of receipt of the notice by the school. ]

( b)  In the case of alleged medical unfitness, the Council may make regulations which provide for the submission of medical evidence, the making of representations and attendance for medical examination.

F38 [ (9) Following its inquiry, the Investigating Committee shall

(a) where it is of the opinion that there is a prima facie case to warrant further action being taken in relation to a complaint, make a decision to refer the complaint, in whole or in part, to the Disciplinary Committee, or

(b) where it is of the opinion that there is no prima facie case to warrant further action being taken in relation to a complaint, make a decision to refuse to refer the complaint to the Disciplinary Committee. ]

(10) F38 [ The Investigating Committee shall, within 21 days of making a decision under subsection (9) ] , provide a copy of the decision and, in the case of a decision under paragraph (b), the reasons for the decision, to the following persons—

( a) F38 [ the complainant ],

( b) the registered teacher, and

( c) where the registered teacher is employed as a teacher, his or her employer.

F39 [ (11) In this section, document includes

(a) a book, record or other printed material,

(b) a photograph,

(c) any information stored, maintained or preserved by means of any mechanical or electronic device, whether or not stored, maintained or preserved in legible form, and

(d) any audio or video recording. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F38

Substituted (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 (31/2015), s. 20(a), (b), (c)(i), (ii), (g)(i), (ii)(I), (II), (h), (i), (k), (m), (n), S.I. No. 408 of 2016.

F39

Inserted (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 (31/2015), s. 20(a), (c)(iii), (d), (f), (j), (l), (o), S.I. No. 408 of 2016.

F40

Deleted (1.07.2013) by Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (11/2013), s. 72(1) and sch. 6 item 33, S.I. No. 211 of 2013.

F41

Deleted (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 (31/2015), s. 20(g)(ii)(III), S.I. No. 408 of 2016.

Editorial Notes:

E37

Power pursuant to subs. (8)(b) exercised (25.07.2016) by Teaching Council (Evidence, Representations and Examination in Case of Alleged Medical Unfitness) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 410 of 2016).

E38

Previous affecting provision: subs. (1)(a) amended (1.07.2013) by Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (11/2013), s. 72(1) and sch. 6, item 33; substituted as per F-note above.