Section 34 — Organisations not to use barred individuals for regulated work

Part of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:30 am on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat 9:30 am, 8th March 2007

Many of the issues around the bill are to do with proportionality. Rules that may be reasonable to impose on someone who has one-to-one contact with children or vulnerable adults and in situations in which great care needs to be taken should not be applied in exactly the same way to those who are only in the presence of a group of young people along with other adults. There seems to be no proportionality in that way. Can the minister assure us that proper consideration will be given to ensuring the need for proportionality? The role that the individual plays should be taken into account, so that people who are only marginally included in the system are not involved in a lot of bureaucracy.

Can the minister also assure us that the voluntary sector will be given a fair shout when the various people involved are consulted? As has been said, the professional public sector is geared up for retrospective checking because it has lots of officials who can organise such things, whereas many voluntary organisations do not. I would not like the local government sector to outvote the voluntary sector in any consultation. Small voluntary organisations find it harder to come to meetings during the day to discuss such things.

I have great confidence in the minister, but we are being asked to have great confidence in future ministers, and a future Government might have a slightly nutty minister from the flat earth party. We are also being asked to have great confidence in the civil servants. Recently, I was given examples of the rules that civil servants produced following a somewhat similar bill two or three years ago. All those rules were so bad that they had to be totally undone and rewritten. We are being asked to have great faith in people in whom I do not have faith.

Can the minister give some reassurance on those points?