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Protection for vulnerable groups
A new disclosure scheme to improve the protection of Scotland's most vulnerable groups is to go live on February 28, Children's Minister Adam Ingram announced today.
The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme had been due to commence at the end of November 2010 but Ministers took the decision to postpone its introduction to ensure the new IT system which supports it is fully fit for purpose and as robust as it can be.
Like the current disclosure system, it is designed to ensure that people who have a known history of harmful or abusive behaviour are not put in positions of trust with vulnerable people.
However, it will improve those arrangements by reducing the need for people to complete a lengthy application form every time a disclosure is required through a membership scheme that continually updates relevant information.
It will also ensure that people who become unsuitable during their employment can be quickly identified and will allow employers to check records more quickly and easily.
Mr Ingram said:
"The PVG scheme will strengthen protection for vulnerable groups and make the disclosure service quick and easy to use for people who work with children and protected adults. A sophisticated and resilient IT system has been developed to host the scheme and its development has included rigorous testing to ensure that it is fit for purpose and robust.
"Following the decision to delay commencement, further work and testing has been undertaken to ensure that the IT system is fully fit for purpose so that we avoid the problems that arose when Disclosure Scotland was first established with a massive backlog of checks.
"We have learned the lessons from that time and that's why we took the decision to postpone implementation, to ensure that once it is introduced, the scheme will be robust as it can be and offers the increased protection we all want.
"I have now been assured by the PVG scheme programme board that the system's development is on track, and have agreed that the scheme will commence on February 28 - delivering increased protection, alongside efficiency savings and less bureaucracy."
Employers will be sent supplies of the new PVG scheme application forms early next month and be kept up to date with progress. A comprehensive package of training and guidance and telephone and email support for the new scheme is already available from Disclosure Scotland and the Central Registered Body in Scotland.
The current service of enhanced disclosure for people who work with vulnerable groups will no longer be available to the vulnerable groups' workforce after the PVG scheme commences on February 28.
The new scheme will be implemented well within the budget of #53 million set in 2009 - indeed the final cost is expected to be under that.