Bill to protect vulnerable groups launched in Scotland

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill was published in Scotland today taking forward key recommendations from Sir Michael Bichard’s report following the Soham tragedy.

The Bill, which builds on existing legislation, particularly the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 and Part V of the Police Act 1997, extends the protection of children and introduces new protections for vulnerable adults.

It closes loopholes in current vetting arrangements and addresses current frustrations highlighted by users.

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.”

The Bill also provides duties in relation to sharing child protection information ensuring professionals are aware of good practice.

A Single Executive Agency will be introduced to support the new vetting and barring scheme and will bring together Disclosure Scotland and the Central Barring Unit.

Brown added: “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.”

The Bill will:-

• Create a disqualified from working with vulnerable adults list for the first time in Scotland
• Extend the current disqualified from working with children list
• Introduce duties and powers for agencies to share information about children who they believe may be at risk
• Establish a Central Barring Unit to assess whether someone should be placed on one or both lists

The Bill is available here


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