Legislation proposed on Scottish disclosure checks

Law change would give charities the go-ahead to get enhanced-level checks

A greater number of Scottish charities could have access to enhanced-level disclosure checks on their staff and volunteers under a legislative change put forward by the Scottish Government.  

The draft amendment to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 would entitle more organisations to enhanced-level disclosure checks, which reveal details of spent convictions, by inserting a definition of ‘social care service' into the legislation.

In April, Disclosure Scotland, the body that provides the checks, started to refuse enhanced checks for organisations that were not legally entitled to them. Prior to this, the body had been misinterpreting the legislation and giving out enhanced checks.

The move sparked complaints from charities with public service delivery contracts with local authorities because it left some unable to meet contracting requirements that meant they had to have enhanced checks carried out on workers.

A spokesman for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, which campaigned for the change, said: "We are pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to the sector about this and taken swift and decisive action.

"This is a good short-term solution to the problem, which will be addressed in more detail when the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act 2007 is enforced next year."

The amendment is due to be put to the Scottish Parliament before the summer recess, which begins on 26 June.

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