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Protecting Vulnerable Groups

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (“The PVG Scheme”) was introduced by the Scottish Government on 28 February 2011.  The law will apply to clubs, centres and others involved in the sport of canoeing.  It will replace and improve upon the current disclosure arrangements (Protection of Scotland Children Act) for people who work with vulnerable groups, (vulnerable groups in this context includes children and young people).  The scheme is being be phased in over four years to allow time for the whole workforce (paid and unpaid) to join it.  It is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland.

Sports and activities such as canoeing offer a great opportunity for people to get involved in physical activity, learn a new skill and meet new people.  Not to mention the respite it offers parents and carers who rely on coaches and activity leaders to look after their loved ones that are left in their care.  Sports coaches and leaders will be only too familiar with the need to have child protection policies and safe recruitment practices in place.  Of course, the vast majority of people who work and volunteer with vulnerable groups are responsible and caring.  But there are some who may choose to use their position of responsibility to do harm.  Ensuring that children are protected from those who could cause them harm is a priority for us all.  That’s why the Scottish Government is introducing the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme) which is a new membership scheme to replace and improve upon the current disclosure arrangements.  People who work with vulnerable groups will join the PVG Scheme and anyone with a known history of harmful or abusive behaviour towards children or protected adults will not be able to become a PVG Scheme member which means they will not be able to work with one or both groups.

The PVG Scheme will continuously update its members’ records, adding any new criminal convictions and any information held by the police that they consider relevant to an individual’s role.  This means that any new information indicating that a person may pose a risk can be acted upon promptly by Disclosure Scotland and by employers.  As well as strengthening protection for vulnerable groups, the PVG Scheme will be quick and easy for people to use, reducing the need for people to complete a detailed application form every time a check is required.

Sports volunteers and organisations should be aware that the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) will process free PVG Scheme checks for volunteers working in the qualifying voluntary sector.  CRBS also provides guidance, advice and support to help ensure that voluntary groups and organisations understand how the PVG Scheme will work and their legal obligations to it and to other child and adult protection legislation.  This includes training sessions that can be delivered either face to face or online.  So far over 1400 people from voluntary organisations across Scotland have received training on the PVG Scheme including individuals from the Scottish Canoe Association.

Accessing PVG Checks

If your club is affiliated to the SCA then the SCA can operate as an intermediary body. The SCA is registered with the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) to access free PVG checks for volunteers.

  1. Confirm the post you are considering appointing an individual to meets the PVG definition of Regulated Work. To do so, visit the online self assessment tool (see above link) and read the associated PVG guidance on the SCA website and/or via the other websites linked above. 
  2. Request a PVG Application pack from the SCA. Please include the names of all individuals, their role in the club and whether or not they are already a PVG scheme member. This determines the type of PVG form we send (Scheme Record or Scheme Record Update).  Note - PVG application forms can only be requested by the Club Child Protection Officer notified to the SCA and will only be issued to clubs with a "Affiliated Club Contract for Accessing PVG Scheme Records" in place. A new contract will be issued to clubs who don't yet have this in place.
  3. The SCA will sent the following to the Club Child Protection Officer : PVG Scheme Record Application / Scheme Record Update Application, Regulated Work with Children Checklist, PVG Scheme Application Guidance notes
  4. The Club Child Protection Officer should carry out a verification of identity, following the guidance provided. 
  5. Candidate completes the PVG Scheme Record Application / Scheme Record Update Application. 
  6. Club CPO returns the SCA Verification Coversheet, PVG Scheme Record Application / Scheme Record Update Application and Children's Checklist to the SCA.
  7. The SCA will process the PVG application and send to CRBS. Once the outcome is received, the SCA will confirm the outcome with the Club Child Protection Officer.  

Remember : PVG is only one part of the appointment and selection process for individuals in regulated work. 

PVG Retrospective Checks

Retrospective Checking (the process by which those who are already in regulated work with children but are not yet members of the PVG scheme are required to join) commenced on 29th October 2012. It will take 3 years to complete the process (by October 2015. (as required by Scottish Government)

The SCA is implementing PVG in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - New appointments checks only (commenced 28th February 2011) - only those who are being considered for appointment to a new regulated work role can be asked to join/update the PVG scheme
  • Phase 2 – New appointments and retrospective checking - In addition to those who are being considered for appointment to a new regulated work role, those who have held a regulated work role prior to 28th February 2011 are asked to join PVG via a Scheme Record or Scheme Record Update. The SCA estimates there to be approximately 500 individuals in total connected with the SCA and Affiliated Clubs to be covered by retrospective checking at the rate of approximately 20 per month. Clubs are being assigned to Phase 2 individually on a monthly basis.   
  • Phase 3 - PVG fully operational - All staff or volunteers in regulated work in will be PVG scheme members and linked by this time. PVG applications will continue for new appointments and Scheme Record Updates will be introduced on a cyclical basis (3 years).

Further details have been issued to club Child Protection Officers.