The Scottish Government consultation was open 25th April- 18th July 2018, seeking views on proposals for the reform to the disclosure regime in Scotland. The aim was to focus on what changes are required to make disclosure of criminal convictions fit for the 21st century.
The pre consultation engagement brought out the complex nature of the present disclosure system. It also brought out the high degree of value and trust that people invest in Disclosure Scotland and all of its products, but particularly the PVG Scheme.
The proposals relate to the following:
- Disclosure Scotland products
- Application for the removal of conviction information
- The length of time spent convictions will be disclosed
- Barring and listing functions
- Fee structure
- The duration of PVG scheme membership
- Mandatory nature of the PVG Scheme
- The disclosure of convictions of under 18s
- Changes to Other Relevant Information
- The scope of regulated work
Having read the questions in the consultation, NPFS chair, Joanna Murphy said:
“Parents are overwhelmingly happy with the values and reasons behind the current PVG scheme, they desire their children to be safe in school. However, many parents find the current system too difficult to understand, and in some cases prohibitive to engaging in their child’s school life. Therefore, we entirely agree with the proposal to replace the idea of regulated work with a clear list of protected roles. Regulated work as a concept is, in our experience, often misunderstood as the current definition is too complex. Many school leaders or headteachers do not seem to have a good understanding of the system, or confidence in their decisions. As a consequence, parents often wrongly face PVG checks when volunteering in school activities or are excluded from activities. Parents should not be prohibited from being involved in the life of their school, and simplification of the scheme would help address this potential barrier. However, we would welcome details on how this list of protected roles will be monitored and reviewed.
“We recognise that many individuals would welcome an electronic system, but, we would urge Scottish Government to be mindful of those with no suitable device, no internet access or facing other barriers.
“We agree that the number of disclosure products is currently too high and that giving individuals ownership of their disclosure membership would be a positive step. It makes sense that an individual would be able to securely route or share their info with any employer or any other person they choose to provide it to and this would hopefully address the current situation where individuals have numerous checks from different organisations. It would also remove the potential cost barrier to participation, for example with a voluntary organisation.