Whilst the introduction of registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is currently on hold, the Scottish Government still expects to introduce the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) in February 2011. This Scheme affects employers in Scotland only.

The PVG Scheme has been put in place to ensure that those who have regular contact with children and protected adults through paid and unpaid work do not have a history of harmful behaviour.

The Scheme establishes a membership scheme for people undertaking ‘regulated work’ with children and/or protected adults to join. The existing enhanced disclosure will no longer be available for people undertaking regulated work with children and protected adults. The new scheme will have a memory and individual records held by the PVG Scheme will be updated automatically if new vetting information becomes known or when a person’s circumstances change. This means that when a disclosure is required because the PVG Scheme member is changing posts or taking on an additional role it will be quick and easy for prospective employers to check whether he/she is a member of the PVG Scheme, whether there is any vetting information held about them and whether any vetting information has been added to or removed from the record since the last PVG Scheme Record was disclosed.

In addition, groups and organisations will be able to make a referral to Disclosure Scotland if they become concerned that an individual has behaved in a harmful way towards vulnerable groups.

Two Barred Lists will be in operation: the Children’s Barred List and the Adult’s Barred List, which will be managed by Disclosure Scotland. Anyone appearing on these lists will not be permitted to perform regulated work in either, or both, categories.

‘Regulated work’ is generally defined as:

• a particular type of activity such as caring for, or teaching a child or protected adult;
• work in a particular establishment, such as a school or care home, which involves contact with children or protected adults; and
• holding one of the specified positions, such as member of a children’s panel or chief social work officer.

The following conditions must also be met:

• the activities or working in particular establishments is part of the employee’s normal duties;
• the delivering of the duties to children or protected adults is not undermined compared to delivering them to the general public; and
• the activities required give the worker the possibility for unsupervised contact with a child or protected adult.

The requirement for membership will be phased in so employers need not do anything in relation to their existing workforce for the time being. However, when employers ask a person to do regulated work with children and/or regulated work with protected adults for the first time (whether an existing or new member of staff), or recruiting someone to a post within regulated work, they should be asked to join the PVG Scheme. This is very similar to the decision employers would make at the moment about whether an enhanced disclosure is required.

When a person joins the PVG Scheme for the first time or when an employer requires disclosure of the full PVG Scheme Record Membership, the cost will be £59. The cost of a Scheme Update on an existing PVG Scheme member will be £18. The Scheme does not dictate who should pay the cost. Membership for unpaid volunteers will be free.

For further advice on the PVG Scheme, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.