Publication - FOI/EIR release

PVG considerations for listing on Children's List: FOI review

Published: 6 Sep 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
6 Sep 2021
PVG considerations for listing on Children's List: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/202100225434 review of 202100217619
Date received: 23 Jul 2021
Date responded: 17 Aug 2021
Information requested

Your request, reference 202100217619
How many individuals (only the number) have been placed on the Children's List as the result of 'allegation(s)' made - please supply the number for each of the previous 5 calendar years (2016 to present)?

(Please note - 'allegation' is where a criminal case was started but the Criminal Prosecution Service declared "no further action" and case closed. No trial was held & therefore no conviction)

Your request for review, reference 202100225434
It would appear that my question was not read correctly which is disappointing. The response was also pretty confusing. My question was very clear in that I asked for the number of individuals who had NO CONVICTIONS but were still placed on the Children's List due to 'allegations' made in the ORI (Other Relevant Information) section.

In the second sentence of the response, it mentions "Disclosure Scotland does not record instances of barring decisions made due to allegations".

My question to that is therefore 2 fold:
1. Is Disclosure Scotland saying there are ZERO instances of barring decisions where allegations are made? or
2. Is Disclosure Scotland saying they do not record this information so there is nothing to report?

Later in the response, conversely, it was then advised that 1996 ORI (Other Relevant Information) results/records were found of BARRED individuals.

My question to that is therefore:
1. If we ignore my request to list numbers of individuals affected for the last 5 years, is the figure of 1996 individuals with ORI against their name, representative of ALL individuals over ALL years the system has been operating?

2. More importantly, of those 1996 BARRED individuals, how many of those 1996 individuals had NO CONVICTIONS? i.e. Is Disclosure Scotland making decisions to BARR people based on unfounded or untested 'allegations'?

Response

Further to my letter of 23rd July 2021 I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for an internal review of Disclosure Scotland's handling of my FOI request 'PVG Considerations for Listing on Children's List'

In your original request, you asked how many children had been placed on the barring list as a result of allegations made over the last 5 years. You define ‘allegation’ as follows:

“a criminal case was started but the Criminal Prosecution Service declared "no further action" and case closed. No trial was held & therefore no conviction.”

We understood this to mean the allegation itself did not result in a conviction, and we did not consider whether any additional convictions existed or not, as this was not specified. Having reviewed our response, and the calculations made to justify our reliance on the Section 12 exemption, I am content that we responded appropriately. You have since asked additional questions which specify “no convictions” as a condition of your request, and I have answered each in turn:

The number of individuals who had NO CONVICTIONS but were still placed on the Children's List due to 'allegations' made in the ORI (Other Relevant Information) section.

Disclosure Scotland have identified 202 such cases where a barred individual has no convictions recorded against them, but does have Other Relevant Information (ORI) recorded on their account, which is a field of information that can contain allegations. When ORI is provided to Disclosure Scotland, they receive assurances from the Chief Constable that all the information disclosed has undergone rigorous checking to ensure that it is accurate, reliable and that its disclosure is proportionate and justifiable.

1. As noted above Disclosure Scotland have identified 202 such cases where a barred individual has no convictions recorded against them, but has ORI recorded on their account.

2. As we said above at question 1, there are 202 cases where a barred individual has ORI recorded in their account and no convictions. When a formal consideration for listing case is underway, Disclosure Scotland can gather information from a range of sources, for example, regulatory bodies and former employers for whom a person has done regulated work in the past. The subject of the consideration case is then provided with all the information gathered and invited to make representation on it as part of the consideration process. What Disclosure Scotland cannot quantify (without reviewing all cases involved) is the number of cases from that 202 where ORI was the sole factor upon which a decision to list was made.

In relation to the second part of the review request.

1. Yes, the figure included all of those barred/listed who had ORI recorded on their account.

2. As noted above, a further report showed that 202 of the 1996 individuals had no convictions recorded against them.

With regard to the second part of your question: “Is Disclosure Scotland making decisions to BARR people based on unfounded or untested 'allegations'?”

Disclosure Scotland makes decisions on balance of probability on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Disclosure Scotland are not required to establish that an individual has acted in the manner outlined within the ORI to the same standard that would be required in a criminal court. Disclosure Scotland need to decide, on the balance of probability and based on the evidence provided to us, if an individual is unsuitable to undertake regulated work with children and/or protected adults. To do this we gather information from various sources and attempt to get the views of the individual via representations. Disclosure Scotland do not make decisions to bar on ‘unfounded’ allegations albeit some allegations may be ‘untested’ in a criminal court.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG