Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

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

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Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Certainly. I hope that members acknowledge that our work with stakeholders has been thorough and committed. We will continue that work and make sure that we respond to concerns that they raise during the progress of the bill.

When the bill was introduced last year, the other two connected pieces of legislation had not yet been enacted, so it is inevitable that there will be procedural and technical inconsistencies between them that require to be remedied. We foresaw that and are committed to bringing everything fully into line by stage 2. I reassure the committee that the bill was drafted with regard to the UNCRC principles and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Another frequently raised issue was decision making and the two-part test. As I set out in my opening remarks, I accept the calls to include more detail in the bill on decision making around the tests for relevance and what ought to be included. I am carefully considering the recommendations on how best to include those principles without compromising the flexibility that is necessary to give full consideration to each set of circumstances.

It is helpful to be clear about the type of information that we are talking about. The two-part test of whether something is relevant to the purpose of disclosure and ought to be included in the disclosure applies to three separate categories of information: other relevant information, childhood conviction information and removable convictions. Although the wording is the same, the tests will be applied in different contexts, depending on the information in question and the stage in the review process. Maintaining the same wording is absolutely crucial.