Increased Protection For Vunerable In Scotland

{mosimage} Advanced, flexible and more efficient measures to prevent unsuitable people working with children and protected adults are among the provisions set out today in The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill. The Bill, which takes forward the key recommendation of Sir Michael Bichard’s report following the Soham tragedy, will introduce significant benefits to employers and workers caring for children and protected adults.

The Bill builds on existing legislation particularly the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act of 2003 and Part V of the Police Act of 1997.  It closes the operational loopholes in the current vetting arrangements and addresses frustrations felt by users. The Bill extends the protection afforded to Scotland’s children and introduces important new protections for adults at vulnerable points in their lives.

A Single Executive Agency will be formed to support the new vetting and barring scheme. It will bring together Disclosure Scotland, which will undertake the vetting function, and the Central Barring Unit, which will undertake the barring function.  This will ensure that service users and employers enjoy an efficient and effective end to end service.

The Bill also provides duties in relation to sharing child protection information making explicit what many professionals currently do by way of good practice.
Deputy Education Minister Robert Brown said: “Vulnerable groups deserve the best possible protection from harm that we can provide and I am confident that this Bill enhances the quality of protection whilst reducing bureaucracy.

“This Bill will help to ensure that people who should not be around children or vulnerable adults cannot access them through work.

“Many of the organisations and the workforces which fall within the scope of the provisions are now familiar with vetting and disclosure and the current aspects which give rise to frustration will be remedied by the new scheme.    

“The improved scheme will quickly detect those who may become unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups while in employment as well as preventing unsuitable people from gaining access in the first instance.  

“It will greatly reduce the current burden on employees and employers to do multiple disclosure checks when, for example, someone changes jobs or takes on voluntary work.

“While fees will be subject to further consultation I am confident the reduction in multiple checks means overall costs will not rise. We will also continue to meet the costs of checks for volunteers.

“It will also allow individuals to demonstrate they are not on the disqualified lists – helping parents and carers consider the safety of their children and make more informed decisions when choosing, for example, a private tutor or music teacher.

“Ensuring that agencies share information about a child they believe to be at risk should allow professionals to spot causes for concern more quickly – allowing them to take speedier action to protect the child.”