How it will work
The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme will be managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland which, as an agency of Scottish Government, will take on additional responsibilities. This will include taking decisions, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, about who should be barred from working with vulnerable groups.
- Improved safeguards
- Scheme membership
- Impact of barring
- New types of disclosure
- Personal employees
As well as strengthening safeguards for children, the PVG Scheme will improve protection for adults because, for the first time in Scotland, there will be a list of those who are barred from working with protected adults (there is already a list of those who are barred from working with children). A protected adult is a person, aged 16 or over, who receives one or more type of care or welfare service either regularly or for a short period of time.
People who work, on a regular basis, with vulnerable groups will join the PVG Scheme and, from then on, their membership records will be automatically updated if any new vetting information arises. Vetting information is conviction information retrieved from criminal justice systems and non-conviction information held by the police that is considered relevant.
Continuing to collect vetting information, after a person becomes a PVG Scheme member, will help to ensure that new information indicating that they might pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be acted upon promptly. In the vast majority of cases, there will be no new vetting information that is relevant to work with vulnerable groups.
In addition, groups and organisations will be able to make a referral to Disclosure Scotland if they become concerned that an individual has behaved in a harmful way towards vulnerable groups. Robust procedures and clear guidance will be available to ensure that groups and organisations make appropriate and fair referrals.
In instances when vetting or referral information indicates that a person may pose a risk to vulnerable groups, Disclosure Scotland will consider all the information available before deciding whether a person should be placed under consideration for listing on one of both of the barred lists. If a person is under consideration for listing, Disclosure Scotland will be able to obtain further information from other sources, such as employers or regulatory organisations.
Decisions about barring will involve a thorough and fair process. The person will have access to all the information being considered and they will be able to submit written representation to the PVG Scheme. While under consideration for listing, the person can continue to work with vulnerable groups but all organisations and groups known to have an interest in them will be notified that their PVG Scheme membership status has changed.
Impact of barring
If, after careful assessment, a person is considered a risk and therefore, unsuitable to work with children or protected adults, or both, Disclosure Scotland will list them on one or both of the barred lists. This means that the person will not be able to become a PVG Scheme member in relation to one or both areas of work. It will be an offence for a barred person - and for an organisation to permit that person - to undertake such work. An appeals procedure will be in place for anyone wishing to challenge a barring decision.
A person who is barred from working with children, protected adults or both, in Scotland, will also be barred throughout the rest of the UK and vice-versa as the PVG Scheme will dovetail with the systems being developed for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
New types of disclosure
The PVG Scheme introduces different types of disclosures which aim to suit different needs and make the system as quick and efficient as possible. There is more information about the different disclosure types on the Scottish Government website.
One of the benefits of becoming a PVG Scheme member is that it will significantly reduce the need for people to complete a detailed application form every time their circumstances change.
Another benefit is that organisations and groups, as part of their safe recruitment processes, will be able to do a quick and simple check to verify that a person is a PVG Scheme member and therefore not barred from working with children or protected adults or both.
Checks for volunteers working in the voluntary sector, with vulnerable groups, will continue to be free.
The PVG Scheme will also strengthen protection for vulnerable groups in instances where people are employed on a personal basis. Personal employers - such as a parent who employs a sports coach for their child or a person employing a personal carer - will be able to check that a person is a PVG Scheme member.