Before section 87

Part of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:30 am on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Elaine Murray Elaine Murray Labour 10:30 am, 8th March 2007

I, too, welcome amendment 5. One of the concerns that was communicated to the Education Committee during consideration of the bill was the issue of people becoming risk averse, particularly when working with children. We have heard stories about, for example, parents not being allowed to get on to buses to fasten the seatbelts of their disabled children because they had not been disclosure checked. That sort of situation arises where there is confusion over when someone has to be a scheme member or needs to be disclosure checked. Organisations, rather than attracting blame, will tend to err on the side of caution and will seek the maximum level of disclosure to protect themselves. At one point, the bill was described as

"a protection of vulnerable organisations bill."—[Official Report, 17 January 2007; c 31097.]

Without the appropriate guidance, organisations will use the legislation to protect themselves from litigation and blame.

It is important that people have appropriate and robust guidance on who needs to be in the scheme and who does not. I welcome the fact that the Executive has lodged amendment 5 at this stage to make it absolutely clear that ministers will produce guidance and that there will be no excuse for such risk-averse behaviour under the new regulations.