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Protection of Vulnerable Groups Written Answer, 12/01/11 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Johann Lamont's (Lab) question asking the Scottish Executive what the proposed start date will be for the new Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme and how much advance notification will be given of the start of the scheme; when the updated code of practice for the new Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme will be ready; and what plans there are for marketing and publicity of the new Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme to the (a) voluntary sector, (b) public sector and (c) general public.

The Minister for Children and Early Years, Adam Ingram, replied that the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme will start in February 2011. This follows an announcement on 3 November 2010 to delay commencement of the scheme from the planned date of 30 November 2010 to February 2011. The date of 30 November 2010 was previously announced on 29 June 2010 providing five months notice for stakeholders. The delay until February 2011 will provide a further two to three months preparation time.

The Code of Practice is published by the Scottish ministers under Section 122 of the Police Act 1997. It is currently being revised for the introduction of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme in February 2011, at which point the revised Code of Practice will be formally published, laid in the Scottish Parliament and come into force.

The revised Code of Practice will be made available on Disclosure Scotlandís website in mid-January, in advance of coming into force, to assist registered persons in preparing for the PVG Scheme.

A comprehensive package of guidance and training materials, developed in partnership with a group of representatives from the public and voluntary sectors, has been available and publicised since summer 2010. Also since the summer 2010, Disclosure Scotland has been operating a PVG telephone and email helpline service dealing with specific queries. A parallel service has been operating for the voluntary sector via the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS).

All of these materials have targeted the public, private and voluntary sectors using an extensive database of over 9,000 contacts which is added to daily by individuals and organisations registering on the PVG Scheme information website.

Additional support has been made available to the voluntary sector through CRBS, which provides information, support and training to third sector groups and organisations. To date, more than 1,400 people who work and volunteer with vulnerable groups have attended PVG Scheme training sessions run by CRBS.

In the run up to commencement, public awareness raising activities include advertising in the Scottish daily press, editorials in local press, adverts on local radio and also direct mailing, web and public relations activities to reach less visible groups and organisations.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 10 -14 January 2011 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 10 -14 January 2011