Better protection for vulnerable groups
Minister for Children and Early Years
Ensuring that vulnerable groups are protected from those who would wish to cause them harm is a priority for us all. Government's role is crucial in setting context and in delivering legislative, policy and scrutiny improvements. But government does not act alone. We share responsibility with other organisations and agencies to build services and amenities that are safe for children and those adults in need of protection.
At the core of safe services is safe recruitment. None of us would want a person who is known to be violent or abusive teaching our children or nursing an elderly parent.
Robust child and adult protection policies, checking references and gaps in employment and ongoing employee supervision along with disclosure checks all contribute to safe recruitment practice.
The PVG Scheme, starting on 28th February 2011, is designed to improve upon the current disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups and makes a significant and lasting contribution to safe services. It will enable employers to do a quick and simple check to verify that a person is a PVG Scheme member and not barred from working with vulnerable groups.
People who work or volunteer with children and protected adults will become members of the PVG Scheme. Anyone with a known history of harmful behaviour will be excluded from the PVG Scheme and from working with children and/or protected adults
It introduces a system that will continuously update its members' records with any new criminal convictions and any information held by the police that they consider relevant to working with vulnerable groups. This means that any new information indicating that a person may pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be acted upon promptly by Disclosure Scotland and by employers.
As well as strengthening protection for vulnerable groups, the PVG Scheme will significantly reduce the need for people to complete a detailed application form every time a check is required. This means that it will be quicker and easier to use and end the frustration that people have felt with the current system in relation to form filling.
Of course the vast majority of people who work with vulnerable groups are caring and responsible. But we must remember that tragedies occur because there are unscrupulous people in positions of trust who would use the work place to do harm.
The PVG Scheme delivers a system that excludes such people known to cause harm from work working with children and/or protected adults.
It delivers a system that is robust and proportionate, only applying to those who work with vulnerable groups.
And it delivers a service that is quicker, easier and cheaper in the long run for people to use and continues to be free for volunteers working in the qualifying voluntary sector.
Many of you will be aware, from recent media coverage, that the UK Government has announced plans, following their review, to scale back the provisions of the Vetting and Barring Scheme covering the rest of the UK to more proportionate levels. This will bring it more into line with the PVG Scheme in scope and proportionality. Both Governments remain committed to prevent any loopholes between jurisdictions that might place vulnerable groups at risk of harm.
The Scottish Government remains committed to the PVG Scheme. The scope and operation of the PVG Scheme follows wide ranging consultation, engagement and discussion with people who work with vulnerable groups across Scotland. Those views have helped us to shape a system that delivers what stakeholders asked for - increased protection, efficiency savings and less bureaucracy.
I look forward to the successful implementation of the PVG Scheme.
The PVG Scheme is going live on February 28, 2011. In the next year after 'go live', Disclosure Scotland will deal primarily with scheme membership applications for people who are new to regulated work with vulnerable groups, have changed posts or have had some other change of circumstances requiring confirmation of scheme membership.
After the first year of operation, there will follow a three year period of retrospective checking when Disclosure Scotland will work with organisations to manage the introduction of PVG Scheme membership to the existing regulated workforce. More information about this will be available from Disclosure Scotland during February/March.
In the meantime, Disclosure Scotland recognises that some organisations for legislative, regulatory or operational reasons may have a need to bring some of their existing staff onto PVG Scheme membership ahead of the planned retrospective checking phase. Where this is necessary, agreement will be reached on a case by case basis between Disclosure Scotland and the organisation. If you wish to discuss this with Disclosure Scotland, contact DS Compliance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note: from the 28th of February 2011, Disclosure Scotland can no longer accept enhanced disclosure application forms if they should instead be applications to become PVG Scheme members. Any enhanced disclosure applications for regulated work with children and/or protected adults received on, or after, the 28th of February 2011 will be returned, along with the correct PVG Scheme application form.
IS THE POST/POSITION REGULATED WORK?
One of the most frequent questions the PVG Scheme Help Services at Disclosure Scotland and the Central Registered Body in Scotland get asked is, how do I know if a particular post is regulated work and therefore within the scope of the PVG Scheme?
It is not possible for the Scottish Government to provide a definitive list of positions or types of employment that are regulated work. The roles and functions that people undertake vary enormously and any such list would become out of date very quickly.
Employers are best placed to understand their services and which posts are in regulated work.
The PVG Act, its explanatory notes and the PVG Scheme guidance and training materials provide information and practical help to so that employers, self-employed people, agencies and voluntary groups can establish which posts fall within the scope of the PVG Scheme. The regulated work self-assessment tool has been designed to take users through a series of questions to help them decide whether a post may not may not be within the scope of the PVG Scheme.
DISCLOSURE SCOTLAND COMPLIANCE RUNNING CHECKS ON REGISTERED BODIES APPLICATIONS.
Disclosure Scotland Compliance started a pilot scheme involving all new Registered Bodies from the 1 November 2010 onwards.
The scheme requires all of a new Registered Body's applications, until further notice, being sent directly to Disclosure Scotland Compliance. This allows an early quality check to take place on how these Registered Bodies are making applications, which will help ensure that they are competent in completion and in relation to the legislation that Disclosure Scotland operates within for issuing disclosures.
Disclosure Scotland is currently developing a training package for Registered Bodies and countersignatories, similar to the PVG training materials, for use by new and existing countersignatories.
In February 2011, Disclosure Scotland wrote to a number of high volume users of it's services, with a reminder of the need, and importance, of being compliant with the legislation at all times. It also requested that these organisations ensure that all applications they intend to submit to join the PVG Scheme are for members of staff who are in, or intend to carry out, regulated work. In line with guidelines for retrospective checking, applications should only be for new members of staff or those that are new to regulated work during the first year of operation of the PVG Scheme.
The final strand of this audit was a 100% check of all standard and enhanced disclosure applications received, which was carried out during a week in early January 2011. Disclosure Scotland Compliance checked all applications received to ensure that the level of application and appropriate Disqualified List check requests were appropriate to the post the application related to.
THE PVG SCHEME E-LEARNING PACKAGE WELL RECEIVED
To complement the suite of guidance and training materials available on the PVG Scheme, the e-learning package has now been available for a few months on the Disclosure Scotland website.
To make the materials easier to use, the e-learning package has been structured under the same nine chapter headings as the guidance document and the overview presentation (also on the Disclosure Scotland website). It is designed to lead people through to the parts of the PVG Scheme that they feel are most relevant to them, enabling them to take as much, or as little, information as they need for their own situation. It includes a set of test questions to help users to ensure they understand the content of that section.
In addition to the above materials, there is a Regulated Work Self Assessment Tool available on the Disclosure Scotland website. This tool takes users through a series of questions to help them decide whether a post may or may not be within the scope of the PVG Scheme.
The intention, with all of the guidance and training materials is that they are easy to navigate and use so that anyone responsible for the recruitment of people who work with vulnerable groups can take and cascade as much, or as little, information as they need.
All of the above materials are on the PVG Scheme pages of the Disclosure Scotland website. For more help or information call 0870 609 6006.
DISCLOSURE ON LINE
While 28 February 2011 represents a huge milestone for the PVG Scheme, it is not the end of the implementation process. When the PVG Scheme goes live, it will be using paper application forms and issuing paper disclosures, much the same as the current application process for disclosures. However, many additional savings in bureaucracy will come with Release 2 of the IT system in the summer of 2011.
Release 2 will provide full on line functionality including:
For registered bodies:
- on line applications for all disclosure types including PVG
- on line scheme record updates for existing PVG Scheme members - these will be delivered in 'real time' i.e. submit the application and a response will be issued
- ability to remove an interest in PVG Scheme members who no longer do regulated work for the organisation
- ability to organise sub accounts within the overall registered body account and direct disclosures and invoices accordingly
- on line statements and invoices, which can be customised to user requirements
- ability to update the details of counter signatories
For scheme members:
- ability to process applications electronically
- ability to update personal details
- ability to request removal of an interest for an organisation the Scheme member no longer works for (this will be confirmed with the organisation before processing)
On line functionality will only be available to organisations registered direct with Disclosure Scotland. It will be available to all registered bodies who wish to use it before the start of the retrospective checking period, through a managed roll out process.
In order for an on line application to be processed, the individual applying for a disclosure must also have internet access and a personal email account - either private or work based.
Further information on Disclosures On Line will follow in future newsletters.
he PVG Scheme is to go live on 28 February 2011, Children's Minister, Adam Ingram announced today.
The scheme had been due to commence at the end of November 2010 but Ministers took the decision to postpone its introduction to ensure the system which supports it is fully fit for purpose and robust.
Mr Ingram said:
"I have been assured by the PVG Scheme Programme Board that the system's development is now on track and have agreed that the scheme will commence on 28 February 2011 - delivering increased protection, alongside efficiency savings and less bureaucracy."
Employers will be sent supplies of the new PVG Scheme application forms early next month and be kept up to date with progress.
The PVG Scheme will be implemented well within the budget of £53 million set in 2009 and the Scottish Government is bearing all of this cost. Checks for volunteers working in the qualifying voluntary sector will be free of charge.
The scheme only applies to people who work, paid or unpaid, with children and protected adults and it does not apply to parents helping their children or personal arrangements that parents make with friends and family to look after their children.
PVG Scheme Help Service
Tel: 0870 609 6006