PVG Registration and Duty Scheme update


Thursday, Dec 11, 2014

This update is to explain that all solicitors registered for the Children’s Duty Scheme will require to be PVG registered and have SLAB as a registered body on their record by 31 May 2015.
 
Background
 
The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (PVG Act) created the legislative framework for a new vetting and barring scheme for those working with children and protected adults in Scotland. It operates concurrently with certain aspects of the previous disclosure system which remain in place, which are: Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosure.
 
Section 91 of the PVG (S) Act 2007 bars individuals from regulated work with children if the individual is listed in the children’s list maintained under the Act. The PVG scheme contains all conviction information, spent and unspent, and any other non-conviction information considered to be relevant by the police or other Government bodies. Unlike the Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosures, a PVG scheme record is updated and notified to all those with an interest in the event of any change affecting a person’s scheme record.  
 
There are a number of elements to be taken into account in considering whether work is regulated, and these include being in sole charge of children and/or having unsupervised contact with children under arrangements made by a responsible person.
 
As a result, all solicitors registered for the Children’s Duty Scheme will require to be PVG registered and to apply for a Scheme Record Update to note SLAB’s interest which will ensure that SLAB is made aware of any change to the individual’s scheme record.
 
Process
 
Section A - If you are already PVG registered
 
Many solicitors will already have an existing PVG membership (a scheme record) because, for example, their practice includes work as a child welfare (bar) reporter and/or they or their employers have recognised that PVG membership is appropriate in their circumstances. If you are already PVG registered, you should complete an application for a Scheme Record Update to note SLAB’s interest.
 
There is a three step process:
 
1.   Complete application form: The Disclosure Scotland form is the “Existing PVG Scheme Member Application”. You can order Disclosure Scotland Application forms and guidance notes through the Disclosure Scotland website ‘Request applications forms’ page. Indicate at Part A, question A1 on the form that you wish to make a Scheme Record Update and complete the relevant sections of the form. Please note that you should not complete Section B8 unless you are a member of a listed Regulatory Body (e.g. General Teaching Council, GMC, GDC, SSSC etc.) The Law Society of Scotland is not a Regulatory Body for these purposes. SLAB will complete section E & F. 
 
2.   Identification check: Three forms of identification must be produced with the application and we have an obligation to be satisfied about the identity of the applicant. As solicitors operate throughout Scotland and SLAB is based in Edinburgh, we have made arrangements with the Scottish Courts Service (SCS) for them to see solicitors face to face and to check their identification documents in order to comply with Disclosure Scotland’s counter-signing requirements. You should go to the public counter in your local sheriff court (or to the Civil Office where this is available) with your completed application form (see below) and explain that you require them to check your identification documents for SLAB for your PVG Scheme Record Update application.  SCS staff will send us copies of the identification documents by secure email[1].
 
3.   Send application to SLAB: Once you have completed the form and had your identification checked, you must send the application to SLAB using the special envelope which will be provided to you by SCS staff. Do not send it to us in any other type of envelope as special arrangements have been made to restrict the staff who will handle these applications to ensure the information is dealt with securely. A fee of £18 is payable to Disclosure Scotland for a Scheme Record Update. Cheques should be sent to SLAB with the application form but they should be made payable to Disclosure Scotland, not to SLAB. SLAB staff will check the application form and, if satisfied, will counter-sign it and send it to Disclosure Scotland.
 
Section B - If you are not yet PVG registered
 
There is a three step process:
 
1.   Complete application form: For solicitors who do not already hold PVG membership, you will have to apply for PVG membership using the Disclosure Scotland form “Application to Join PVG Scheme”.   You can order Disclosure Scotland Application forms and guidance notes through the Disclosure Scotland website ‘Request application forms’ page. In Part A, question A1 you should indicate you are applying for a Scheme Record. SLAB will complete Part E & F.
If you have any questions about completing the forms, you should contact Disclosure Scotland. The telephone number is: 0870 609 6006.
 
2.   Identification check: Three forms of identification must be produced with the application and we have an obligation to be satisfied about the identity of the applicant. As solicitors operate throughout Scotland and SLAB is based in Edinburgh, we have made arrangements with the Scottish Courts Service (SCS) for them to see solicitors face to face and to check their identification documents in order to comply with Disclosure Scotland’s counter-signing requirements. You should go to the public counter in your local sheriff court (or to the Civil Office where this is available) with your completed application form (see below) and explain that you require them to check your identification documents for SLAB for your application to join the PVG Scheme.  SCS staff will send us copies of the identification documents by secure email[2].
 
3.   Send application to SLAB: Once you have completed the form and had your identification checked, you must send the application using the special envelope which will be provided to you by SCS staff. Do not send it to us in any other type of envelope as special arrangements have been made to restrict the staff who will handle these applications to ensure the information is dealt with securely. A fee of £59 is payable to Disclosure Scotland for an Application to Join PVG Scheme.  Cheques should be sent to SLAB with the application form but they should be made payable to Disclosure Scotland, not to SLAB. SLAB staff will check the application form and, if satisfied, will counter-sign it and submit it to Disclosure Scotland.
 
Timetable
 
We will be able to accept applications from 15 December 2014 and all solicitors on the Children’s Duty Scheme must have provided a Scheme Record Update for SLAB or joined the PVG Scheme by 31 May 2015.
 
From 1 June 2015 it will not be possible for a solicitor to be a member of the Children’s Duty Scheme without being a member of the PVG Scheme and to have SLAB as a registered body on your record.
 
For further information and if you have any queries contact:
 
Ann Forbes-Partington, Assistant Manager, Civil and Children’s Legal Assistance on 0131 240 2072 or email forbesan@slab.org.uk  


[1] SCS will delete your documents after they are received by SLAB. SLAB will delete your documents after the Disclosure Scotland have completed the Scheme Record Update process.
[2] As per footnote 1.


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