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.