News

A Fix To Fix A Fix: Views Sought on Changes to Disclosure Checks

Scottish Parliament

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Those who work either as volunteers or in a paid capacity with young people and vulnerable groups require to be disclosure checked. There are various levels of these checks depending on the work being done. A Scottish Parliament committee is looking at proposed changes to the higher level of disclosure checks.

“The 2018 Proposed Draft Order sets out proposed amendments to the Police Act 1997 and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007. It provides that individuals who have been convicted of offences which are listed in schedule 8A (offences which must always be disclosed) should in certain specified circumstances have the right to apply to a sheriff in order to seek removal of that conviction information before their disclosure is sent to a third party, such as an employer. This will provide similar, although more limited, right to apply to the sheriff as currently exists in relation to offences listed in schedule 8B of the 1997 Act.”

Proposed Draft Police Act 1997 and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 Remedial Order 2018

The changes are required to be examined as there is an incompatibility between the current legislation and the European Court of Human Rights. (ECHR). Alterations were previously made in 2015 and this would be an additional change.

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is collecting views on the proposals.

Convener of the committee Graham Simpson MSP explained:

“We all want a disclosure system that is legally robust and has public confidence. The Committee wants to examine these changes to see if they meet the concerns raised by the court.”

“This is a fix to fix a fix. We will be applying thorough scrutiny. We don’t want to find ourselves back here again and we want to make sure that these proposed changes could deliver a disclosure regime that is capable of being operated compatibly with ECHR”.

The committee is especially interested in views on the following:

  • Whether the period of time which must pass before the disclosure of Schedule 8A spent conviction information may be appealed to the sheriff (15 years from the date of conviction, or 7.5 years if the individual was under 18 on the date of conviction) is proportionate?
  • The lack of any provision allowing the disposal of the conviction to be taken into account in determining whether an appeal to the sheriff against disclosure of a Schedule 8A conviction is appropriate.
  • Whether there are any concerns about the sheriff appeal procedure as it currently applies to the disclosure of schedule 8B convictions?
  • The transitional provision set out in the Proposed Draft Order dealing with the transition from the existing regime to the proposed new regime

How to submit your views

The closing date for responses is Friday 20 October 2017.

All responses should be sent electronically (in Word format – no confirmatory hard copy required) to DPLR.Committee@parliament.scot.

Written responses will be handled in accordance with the Parliament’s policy for handling written evidence received in response to calls for evidence. All written evidence received may be published by the Parliament and will be treated as a public document. If you wish to submit evidence in confidence or anonymously please read the policy at the link above.

Should you require alternative formats of this information or further assistance in making a written submission to the Committee, contact the clerking team of the Committee via the email address  or by telephone on 0131 348 5212.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

 

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