Lobby briefing: Russell Gunson, policy officer, SCVO

Gunson told Third Sector about changes to the Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable People Bill, and the implications for charities

- What's going on with Scottish legislation on protecting vulnerable groups?

The Scottish Executive has dropped from the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill the part that covers the statutory code on sharing child protection information.

- What were your objections to the code?

It would have placed a statutory duty on many organisations to share information about children. We were concerned that there had been no consultation on it, and that it could have had unintended negative consequences.

- Will other parts be removed?

The executive has said it is prepared to consider further amendments to the Bill, particularly to retrospective criminal records checks. Robert Brown, the deputy minister for education, suggested this part could be taken off the face of the Bill and moved into secondary legislation.

- Why do you oppose retrospective criminal records checks?

The executive itself estimated that the scheme would apply to one in four people. Our own figures are slightly higher. For voluntary organisations, the concern was the huge costs of doing this, not only in terms of administration.

There were fears that, in order for the scheme to be self-financing, the cost of checks would have to rise.

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