Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

Thank you. These are important points.

I turn to volunteering, which my colleague Brian Whittle will focus on. The purpose of the bill must be about trust in the system. We must ensure that, when parents take a youngster to scouts, a sports group, a Duke of Edinburgh award group or whatever it might be, there is absolute trust not just in the integrity and probity of the person who is in charge and will be looking after the group but in the system that backs them up. That is absolutely crucial. We must ensure that we have a lot of volunteers, because communities depend on the strength of volunteers. The argument about what is defined as “regulated work” as opposed to “regulated roles” is therefore very important, and I am thinking about stage 2 amendments that might clarify some of that.

Sometimes in Parliament we are presented with a bill that deals with what looks like, in theory, a very straightforward issue but that, in practice, turns out to be incredibly difficult. I think that this is one of those bills, and I think that the minister thinks that, too. We must be united as a Parliament to overcome all the practical difficulties. The committee has made a good start on that and the minister’s comments reflect that, but I do not think that it is going to be an easy bill. It is quite a challenging situation.