Measures to strengthen the protection of children and vulnerable people, while simplifying the system of applying for criminal record checks, have been introduced to Parliament.
The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill will make the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme mandatory for anyone working with children and vulnerable people, such as sports coaches.
It will end lifetime membership of the PVG scheme, replacing it with a renewable five-year membership. It will also end the automatic disclosures of minor criminal offences committed as a young person, with decisions to be taken on a case by case basis.
To simplify the disclosure system, the number of different checks available will be cut from ten to four.
Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd said: “This Bill will deliver a fairer disclosure regime that protects our most vulnerable, is simpler for employers and less invasive for the majority of users.
“Mandatory registration for people carrying out regulated roles with children and protected adults is essential, but we will also ensure that people with minor convictions – particularly crimes committed under the age of 18 – have a better chance to move on and make a contribution to society.
“It will also simplify and modernise our disclosure system with applications being made online. This will speed up employment checks and reduce the burden on employers and applicants, while ensuring vulnerable groups receive the best possible protection.”
The PVG Scheme applies to all regulated roles, whether either paid or as a volunteer.
There are two types of regulated roles – those which involve activities with children and those which involve activities with protected adults. Regulated roles include caring responsibilities, teaching or supervising children and/or protected adults, providing personal services to children and/or protected adults or working directly with children and/or protected adults.
In 2017-2018, a total of 496,789 checks were carried out, 287,420 of which were PVG checks.
The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill responds to an extensive public consultation process which took place last year and a review of the PVG scheme which covers children and vulnerable people