Disqualification criteria for councillors - draft: consultation

This consultation on updating disqualification criteria for local authority members asks for the public’s view on whether or not the Scottish Government should prevent anyone on the sexual offenses notification register from being a councillor.

5. Notification requirements being considered as part of this proposed change

5.1 Sexual Offences Act 2003

An individual can become subject to SONR as set out in Section 80 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, if they are:

(a) convicted of an offence listed in Schedule 3 of the act;

(b) found not guilty of such an offence by reason of insanity; or

(c) found to be under a disability and to have done the act charged against them in respect of such an offence.

An individual can also become subject to SONR as a result of the imposition or breach of certain types of orders, namely:

5.2 Sexual Harm Prevention Order

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) came into being in Scotland on 31 March 2023, replacing Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPOs). A SHPO, whether full or interim, imposes conditions on the individual either prohibiting them from doing something described in the order or requiring them to do something described in the order. These orders may be imposed by the courts on conviction or following a civil application to the court by the Chief Constable. In addition to those convicted of an offence listed in paragraphs 36 to 60 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it may be imposed on persons acquitted of an offence listed in one of these provisions, for example on grounds of insanity.

These conditions must be necessary and proportionate to protect the public from sexual harm from the individual. As well as the SHPO requiring the offender to comply with prohibitions and obligations, it also renders them subject to the Sex Offender Notification Requirements (SONR) under Part 2 of the 2003 Act while the order is in effect.

5.3 Sexual Risk Order

Sexual Risk Orders (SROs) came into force in Scotland on 31 March 2023, replacing Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RoSHOs).

A Sexual Risk Order (SRO) is a civil order which can be sought by the police against an individual who has not been convicted or equivalent of a Schedule 3 offence but who is nevertheless thought to pose a risk of harm to children and/or adults.

An SRO may be made in respect of an individual who has committed an act of a sexual nature and as a result of which, there is reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary to make such an order for the purpose of:

  • Protecting the public, or any particular members of the public, from harm from the individual,
  • Protecting children or vulnerable adults generally, any particular children or vulnerable adults, from harm from the individual outside the United Kingdom.

SONR do not automatically apply to an individual subject to a SRO, however, breach of an SRO can result in the individual becoming subject to the notification requirements.


Email: LGActConsultation@gov.scot

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