The Scottish Government April 2008
PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE GROUPS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2007
THE SCOTTISH VETTING AND BARRING SCHEME
The PVG scheme will:
• ensure that those who have regular contact with vulnerable groups through
the workplace do not have a history of abusive behaviour,
• deliver a fair and consistent system that will be quick and easy for people to
A strengthened and robust vetting and barring scheme contributes directly to the Scottish Government's objective - to help local communities flourish and become stronger, safer places to live.
The scheme will stop people who are unsuitable from working with children and protected adults - either paid or unpaid - and detect those who become unsuitable while in the work place.
It builds on what has been learned from the current disclosure system to deliver a robust, strengthened, streamlined service for people who work with vulnerable groups.
Protection for adults will be improved, as the PVG Act creates, for the first time in Scotland, a list of those who are barred from working with protected adults. The Act defines a protected adult as an individual, aged 16 or over who receives one or more type of care or welfare service. This definition recognises that some adults may always require protection due to the nature or frequency of services they receive, while others may do so only for short periods.
This list and the list of those who are barred from working with children will be managed by a single agency that incorporates current disclosure services and the new range of scheme membership and barring services. It will collect and assess vetting information to make expert, fair and consistent decisions about unsuitability on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
In time, it is proposed to expand sources of vetting information to include regulatory organisations and local authorities. The PVG Act introduced the provisions for this and the consultation published in November 2007 explored how this could be achieved. Discussions on the detail of this issue continue with partners.
The Act introduces a scheme membership system for people who work with children and protected adults. If a person is considered unsuitable to work with children, protected adults or both, they will be unable to become a scheme member in relation to either workforce or both. It will be an offence for an organisation to permit someone who has been barred to undertake such work.
Scheme membership will end the need for employees (paid and unpaid) to complete multiple written disclosure checks which is a cause of frustration with the current disclosure system. Scheme records will be updated automatically when members' circumstances change, for example if they move to a different job or if they are convicted of a crime.
This will enable the employer to do a simple check to verify that a person is a scheme member and therefore, not unsuitable. As well as providing an enhanced tool to help employers to make safe and (in the vast majority of cases) speedier recruitment decisions, scheme membership will save overall costs and reduce bureaucracy. Checks for volunteers working in the voluntary sector will continue to be paid by the Scottish Government.
A new Statement of Scheme Membership will improve protection for vulnerable groups in instances where people are directly employed to do regulated work. Personal employers (such as a parent who employs a sports coach for their child or a person employing a personal carer) can ask to see an up to date Statement of Scheme Membership to confirm that the person is not barred.
This PVG Act delivers the principal recommendation of the Bichard Inquiry Report which was undertaken following the tragic murders in Soham in 2002. This recommendation called for a registration system for all those who work with children and protected adults in the UK.
The Scottish scheme dovetails with the system being developed in other parts of the UK, through the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (2006) Act, to ensure a consistent and UK wide approach to vetting and barring. This means that someone who is barred from working in the relevant workforce in Scotland would also be barred throughout the rest of the UK and vice versa.
A date for the scheme to go live is still to be determined and the Scottish Government will announce the date well advance to allow stakeholders adequate time to prepare. In the meantime, implementation plans are continuing, in partnership with a range of groups and organisations. This work includes planning
and developing a comprehensive package of guidance and training which will be available in the run up to go live.
For more information go to http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/Young-People/children-families/pvglegislation
Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act Implementation Team
The Scottish Government
Tel: 0131 2444907