Section 67 — Fees

Part of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:00 am on 8th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party 10:00 am, 8th March 2007

The minister has acknowledged the voluntary sector's concerns about fee levels for disclosure checks and the impact on their finances of large increases such as we have witnessed under the POCSA regime. However, he has dismissed such concerns rather too lightly.

The voluntary sector is under significant financial pressure as a result of developments such as the phasing out of European social fund support. Throughout our discussions on the bill we have said that we do not want increased pressure on the sector to have the unintended consequence of a reduction in services to the vulnerable adults and children about whom we are most concerned. The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care set fees to cover its costs without consulting the sector and it is feared that the central barring unit might follow that example. We accept the minister's reassurances about full consultation on the fees regime, but we need to build in to the system protection for the voluntary sector from inordinate rises such as we have witnessed.

There are also questions about the accuracy of the financial memorandum—it is unfortunate that the Executive has not rid itself of the habit of getting its sums wrong. In the circumstances, the least we can do is ensure that proposals for changes to fee levels are subject to full parliamentary scrutiny through the affirmative resolution procedure. Therefore, we support amendment 37.