4. Individuals with criminal convictions for sexual offences
At present, some individuals may be subject to Sex Offender Notification Requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (“SONR”), more commonly known as being on the Sexual Offenders Register, but not receive a custodial sentence of imprisonment which falls within the scope of the existing legislation disqualifying persons from holding office. Given that councillors frequently engage with a diverse range of people within their communities, often on a one-to-one basis, we are concerned that some individuals subject to SONR could potentially pose a risk to vulnerable individuals.
The Scottish Government considers that the law should be updated to prevent individuals who are currently subject to SONR from being an elected member of a local authority for as long as they are subject to those notification requirements. This would apply even if a custodial sentence of less than 3 months, or no custodial sentence at all, has been imposed.
We are seeking the views of the public and stakeholders as to whether you agree with this proposed change and, if it is considered a proportionate response to the potential risk posed, taking into account the possible vulnerabilities of people approaching councillors, potentially for one-to-one consultations.
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