Legislation to “simplify and modernise” the disclosure system in Scotland has been introduced at the Scottish Parliament.
The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill would seek to strengthen the protection of children and vulnerable people, while simplifying the system of applying for criminal record checks.
If passed, it would make the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme mandatory for anyone working with children and vulnerable people, such as sports coaches.
It would also end lifetime membership of the PVG scheme by replacing it with a renewable five-year membership.
Automatic disclosure of minor criminal offences committed as a young person would also be ended, with decisions taken on a case-by-case basis.
The number of checks available would also be cut from 10 to four in an effort to simplify the system.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said the changes would help to speed up employment checks while protecting vulnerable groups.
“This Bill will deliver a fairer disclosure regime that protects our most vulnerable, is simpler for employers and less invasive for the majority of users,” said Ms Todd.
“Mandatory registration for people carrying out regulated roles with children and protected adults is essential, but we will also ensure that people with minor convictions – particularly crimes committed under the age of 18 – have a better chance to move on and make a contribution to society.
“It will also simplify and modernise our disclosure system with applications being made online. This will speed up employment checks and reduce the burden on employers and applicants, while ensuring vulnerable groups receive the best possible protection.”
Joanna Barrett, from NSPCC Scotland, said: “We are pleased to see that the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill proposes that PVG checks will now be mandatory.
“Child safety is paramount and it’s right that full and appropriate checks will now be carried out on all adults working with children.”