Our country is safer thanks to disclosure

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​Gerard Hart of Disclosure Scotland on forthcoming changes to Scotland's disclosure regime

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18th June 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

This is a landmark year for Scotland’s disclosure regime.

We are currently engaged in a review of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme which has the potential to impact everyone who works in regulated work in Scotland.

We are currently in a period of formal consultation proposing changes, which once they have gone through the necessary legislative process, could lead to the biggest shake-up to the disclosure system in Scotland since PVG was introduced in 2011.

Over the last seven years PVG has proven itself to be effective, trusted and successful. Since 2011 over a million people have been made members and it has barred more than 5,000 individuals from regulated work.

Our country is undoubtedly safer as a result.

Despite its success, we are aware of a number of areas where PVG can better serve society

Gerry Hart

Gerry Hart

However, despite its success, we are aware of a number of areas where PVG can better serve society.

Over the last seven years our workforce and our technology have evolved; our consultation is a response to the changes we see around us.

The care sector for example has experienced significant growth in personal employment and self-directed support in recent years and requires a disclosure system to meet these needs. There have been high profile cases and discussions in society and parliament about how the PVG system can play an even bigger role in protecting Scotland’s vulnerable groups.

We have listened to our stakeholders and developed a set of consultation proposals accordingly.

Before we launched our consultation, we had already conducted over a year of feedback, gathering more than 1,000 responses. As a result of this, we can be confident that our stakeholders will recognise what we bring to the table.

For example, through this work it became apparent that a simplified disclosure system with fewer products would be welcome. Our consultation therefore focusses on designing an approach to streamline the process, making it more intuitive. This not only benefits Disclosure Scotland as the body administering it, but also – crucially – the end user.

We are also consulting on proposals to make membership more manageable and easy to govern.

This will also ensure individuals who no longer need to be in the scheme can easily leave. This aims to avoid unnecessary and ongoing intrusion into personal lives, for example where an individual undertakes work with vulnerable groups for only a limited period of time.

We are also looking at how to more clearly and effectively determine who is eligible to join the PVG Scheme, how to make sure that everyone who should join the scheme does join it, how best to handle disclosure when the behaviour took place in childhood or adolescence, and how to protect children and protected adults in the context of overseas aid work.

One of the most frequently raised issues with the disclosure regime is its compatibility with modern technology.

The use of online systems is almost universally expected these days and we are absolutely determined to offer a transformed digital service that is more efficient and allows people to interact with us more easily.

These are a few examples of what is a wide-ranging and ambitious piece of work. Our consultation alone seeks feedback on over 90 questions about the disclosure process in Scotland, some of which fundamentally reimagine how we work today.

People have until 18 July to have their say on how they would like our disclosure regime to change. I would encourage everyone working with our products to have their say and I look forward to developing these proposals in the future.

Gerard Hart is director of protection services and policy at Disclosure Scotland.