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Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scotland

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Reviewing the legislation[edit | edit source]

  • Engage with third sector at every stage - it is a key stakeholder in protecting vulnerable groups, but needs sufficient time and clear proposals in order to respond effectively
  • Carry out a gender analysis of the proposed changes for differential impact on men and women
  • Explore links between these proposals and the strategies to tackle loneliness, homelessness, mental health and employability

Key principles[edit | edit source]

  • Volunteer checks should always be free for volunteers (this is a red line for our sector)
  • Scheme rules should be simple, clear and unbureaucratic
  • Members should be allowed to leave and rejoin the scheme at will
  • The scheme should foster a risk-aware rather than risk-averse approach

Options for change[edit | edit source]

Options
Disclosure Scotland proposal Change in position Considerations
Make PVG mandatory for all occupations where employees are working with vulnerable people Currently PVG is not mandatory, but hiring someone from the barred list is an offence.

Registering through the PVG system allows an employer to demonstrate that they are not hiring someone barred.

Making PVG mandatory is therefore a fundamental change ot the scheme.

PVG costs the employee and/or organisation. This is reasonable in cases of paid employment. But for volunteers, can be prohibitive and counterproductive for both volunteers and volunteering organisations. Therefore, volunteer registration and checks should remain free.

In addition, further clarity about the role of charity or voluntary organisation trustees needed as they are also volunteers. Is PVG membership necessary for trustees who may not be working with vulnerable groups or would a disclosure check be more appropriate?

Digitalisation of system Moving from paper forms to an online and e-notifications based system for applications and notifications. Paperwork for smaller groups is already a nightmare and major hurdle so digitalisation of the system would be welcome.

However, there is an equality consideration here which applies both paper based as well as digital approaches. Accessibility for lower literacy and language and very formal/officious language can be difficult for many people. Digital must not exacerbate this. For example, be careful about offering financial incentives for digital applications for first time applicants, as they may choose to engage digitally even if it is not the most appropriate route for them.

The move to digitalisation should also give due consideration to securing GDPR and privacy concerns.

Annex B - PVG membership The proposal is to move from 'regulatory work' to 'protected roles'. This is a substantial shift, as it requires advance anticipation of all roles that may involve interaction with vulnerable people. This proposal needs to be seriously rethought.

There are already duplications of roles in the proposed Annex B membership list and some clear gaps. There is a danger that the list could grow and be never-ending.

It may be better to consider improving the definition of regulated work rather than moving to the 'protected roles' approach.

Annex A - Conviction checks A new Level 2 disclosure product which limited to those employed by organisations listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2013 (“the 2013 Order”) The Level 2 police checks eligible roles listed in Annex A does not cover all roles. We have been made aware that a number of third sector organisations may work as associates with the organisations listed in Annex A, and therefore may be employing people who need to be covered by Level 2 checks. Please therefore carefully check the consultation responses from third sector organisations on the professions/roles that are not included that should be (Consultation Question 8).
Revised fees regime for the scheme and discounts Time-limiting the scheme to 1 or 5 years rather than the current lifetime membership.

Application of a 'public interest' test for volunteers.

If a volunteer enters paid work then they would need to start paying immediately.

We support time-limiting membership of the scheme as it will allow people to leave and unburden the scheme. However, people should be able to rejoin later at the renewal rate, not at the new member joining rate. With this in mind we support the flexibility offered by 1, 2 or 5 years renewals with associated discounts.

A 'public interest' test for volunteers risks creating a value judgement on deserving and undeserving causes. If there is a concern that some people volunteer for commercial organisations, then the data for this needs to be assessed and made available.

For volunteers entering paid work, it would be less bureaucratic for all concerned if payments only happen at point of scheme renewal, not changing to paid work. If the membership of the scheme is time-limited then this should not be a problem for the financial sustainability of the PVG system.

No disclosure for under-16s

No counter-signatories can be under-18s

There is currently no age limit, so this is a fundamental change to the scheme. In the third sector many 16 yr olds do have responsibility, and may merit scheme membership. As this is difficult and sensitive issue more evidence and data is required before advancing this proposal.

Note that in the third sector, we have many young trustees under 18 who could also be affected by the proposed age restriction for counter signatories.

Proposed list of Annex-B roles[edit | edit source]

If required then we offer a list of additional roles for consideration here (additions in italics):

General

1. Any student training for a profession whose members are in protected roles.

2. The Reporter of officers appointed under section 8(5) of the Local Government etc

(Scotland) Act 1994 to assist that officer

Social care/Care

1. Care home owner / manager

2. Care Assistant (in any setting with children or adults with welfare needs, illness or

disability)

3. Day Carer in any setting with children or adults with illness or disability

4. Registered Social Service Worker

5. Registered Social worker

6. Volunteer with children, or adults with disability or illness

7. Peer worker for children, or adults with disability or illness

8. Support worker for children, or adults with disability or illness

9. Youth worker/volunteer

10. Careers Advisor – children and/or adults

11. Driver

  • Transport of patients
  • Transport of School children
  • Transport of children, or adults with disability or illness

12. Carer / Personal Carer

13. Care assistant

14. Counsellor

  • Children
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Bereavement
  • Family mediation
  • Faith/Religious

15. Volunteer with children, or adults with disability or illness

16. Peer worker for children, or adults with disability or illness

17. Support worker for children, or adults with disability or illness

18. Youth worker/volunteer

19. Placement Carer

20. Child minder / child-minding assistant

21. Interpreters for children, or adults with disability or illness

Education

1. Teacher

  • Children
  • Protected Adults
  • Sunday School
  • Music teacher

2. Classroom Assistant

3. School Coordinator

4. Nursery worker

5. Active schools coordinator

6. Support for learning staff

7. Tutor (should make explicit mention of children and protected adults in college settings)

8. School hostel worker

NB children under 16 and vulnerable young people attend college both in school/college partnership arrangements and post school - the list requires to be extended to lecturers and support staff (and potentially beyond?) to address this reality

Health

1. Medical Doctor

2. Medical/Dental Nurse

3. Dentist

4. Dental Hygienist

5. Radiographer

6. Physiotherapist

7. Ophthalmic optician

8. Dispensing optician

9. Registered Osteopath

10. Registered Chiropractor

11. Registered Pharmacy Technician

12. Registered Pharmacist

13. Midwife

14. Healthcare support workers/Auxiliaries

15. Social Worker

16. Speech Therapist

17. Sport therapists

18. Prosthetist

19. Psychologist

20. Paramedic/ambulance technician

21. Orthoptist

22. Occupational Therapist

23. Hearing aid dispenser

24. Arts therapists

25. Chiropodist

26. Podiatrist

27. Pathologist

Volunteering

1. Community centre volunteer for children, or adults with disability or illness

2. Youth/children’s club volunteer

3. Any protected role listed in a voluntary capacity

4. Aid Worker

Sports & Leisure

1. Sports Coach for children, or adults with disability or illness

2. Academy Skills Coach

3. Sports Agents

4. Sports Scout

5. Kit man

6. Adult Learning Tutor/coach

7. Youth Development

8. Outdoor sport and recreation activity instructors

9. Assistant coaches

10. Lifeguard

11. Leisure attendant

Protected Establishments - children

1. School workers

2. Children’s hospital workers

3. Children’s hospice workers

4. Children’s home workers

5. Children’s secure accommodation workers

6. Children’s ward workers

7. Leisure centre workers accessing changing areas

Protected Establishments – adults

1. Adult care home

2. Adult hospice

3. Workers in patient treatment areas of hospitals

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

An overriding concern with the proposals in this consultation is the lack of clarity on the link between job roles and the legislative requirements to cover regulated work.

It is more important what these roles actually do rather than the name of the role. The consultation proposals sometimes mixes these up and is not precise enough in the definitions it does use.

This leads to questions about the effectiveness of this consultation given how fundamental some of the changes proposed are.

It may therefore be better to review the proposals as part of a more systemic consideration of the future of disclosure and the PVG scheme in Scotland.