Voluntary sector seeks checks delay

Scottish voluntary groups have called for a 10-year delay to the introduction of more stringent police checks on existing voluntary sector staff working with vulnerable people.

Russell Gunson, policy and communications officer at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, told the Scottish parliament education committee last week that the delay was “the least worst option”. The “vast majority” of voluntary groups could not cope with a shorter timeframe because of the added costs of doing checks on around 750,000 existing staff, he said.

The checks would be introduced under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill, which would introduce immediate checks on new voluntary sector staff.

The executive, which has already shelved parts of the bill, is consulting over retrospective checks.

However, Michelle Miller, children’s convener for the Association of Directors of Social Work, said: “It’s very hard for us to conceive of an argument that says a new employee could pose more risk than a longstanding one.”

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