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 Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 10:30 am, 8th March 2007

I thank members for their comments on the amendment. The guidance will be useful in helping to implement the act. During my time as a minister and, before that, as a back-bench MSP, I have found that passing a good law is one thing, whereas implementing it is the rest of the iceberg—the real challenge—and no more so than with regard to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill.

There will be wide consultation, specifically with the next education committee, on the guidance. We will want input, given people's considerable experience and knowledge of the system. We need to involve the education sector in that process, too.

In the background is a fear that people will adopt unnecessary or excessive approaches to the new legislation as they attempt to safeguard their organisations. We wish to avoid a gold-plating approach, as I have mentioned before. I think that, through guidance, we can do something to distil the sprit of what we are looking for. Elaine Murray mentioned the risk-averse nature of the debate surrounding the bill. That is an important point, and we need to consider that more broadly.

There are three levels at issue: the bill itself and its wording; the regulation and guidance that will support the bill; and advice, which I have mentioned a number of times. We will seek to provide advice—through the central registered body in Scotland and in other ways—to the small groups that will have to comply with the legislation so that they will have comfort and confidence in how the system will operate.

Amendment 5 agreed to.