Protection of vulnerable groups and disclosure of criminal information: consultation

This consultation seeks views on proposals for the reform to the disclosure regime in Scotland.

Aim of this consultation

This consultation is split into seven sections.

Each section provides information and discusses policy options and then asks the respondent to answer questions on matters relating to the possible options for change. We have designed the questions to give the Scottish Government an indication of the change that you want to see.

We promise to take your answers very seriously and use them to help us chart the right path for a modern and even more effective disclosure system in Scotland.

Section 1 introduces the background to the disclosure of criminal history in Scotland, the reason for this consultation and the current Scottish Government policy position on disclosure. It sets out the case for change.

Section 2 discusses policy proposals for how Disclosure Scotland can offer a range of products that improve customer experience, reduce complexity and ensure that the right products get used for the right purposes.

Section 3 sets out policy ideas about how the PVG Scheme may evolve and change to reflect the demands of 2020 and beyond, building on extensive stakeholder consultation, emerging digital possibilities, a changed landscape for the provision of care services and seven years of learning from the operation of the Scheme to date.

Section 4 sets out policy proposals and ideas for how the barring service in Scotland should evolve and change, reflecting stakeholder feedback, the importance of enabling people with convictions to live fruitful lives and experience rehabilitation whilst maintaining a sharp focus on the need to exclude unsuitable people from paid or unpaid work with vulnerable groups.

Section 5 provides a background on the reform of the disclosure system by the introduction of schedules 8A and 8B into the Police Act 1997 in 2015. It poses questions on the offences that are included on each of the lists and also discusses self-disclosure. This section sets out proposals for a reduction in the disclosure periods for offences on schedule 8B from 15 and 7.5 years, in line with the changing policy on rehabilitation of offenders. The system for the removal of spent convictions from disclosure certificates is also detailed and possible alternative options offered.

Section 6 sets out proposals for reforms to the provision of 'Other Relevant Information' ( ORI) on disclosures. We will propose that Police Scotland should have to seek representations from any person about whom they intend to give ORI prior to the inclusion of that information on a scheme record, or an enhanced disclosure, and also to consider those representations and have regard to them. Proposals are also made in relation to provisions for 12-17 year old children and the disclosure of convictions accrued in childhood and specific questions are asked on this.

Section 7 deals with the need for comprehensive guidance and training where necessary on the processes and duties, specifically the duty to refer.

The aim is for respondents to focus on what changes are required to make disclosure of criminal convictions fit for the 21st century. Some changes that may be identified might be better pursued through non-legislative means. Others may require to be looked at in terms of wider Scottish Government policy.

Our pre consultation engagement brought out the complex nature of the present disclosure system. It also brought out the high degree of value and trust that people invest in Disclosure Scotland and all of its products, but particularly the PVG Scheme. The disclosure system is complex and one of our aims must be to make sure that this is simplified as much as possible to make it truly customer-focused so that we can deliver a better system suitable for the next 10 years and beyond.


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