A bill to update the disclosure system in Scotland has won the backing of a Holyrood committee, subject to calls to amend it to ensure consistency with other legislation.
The Education & Skills Committee has published its stage 1 report on the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill, which aims to simplify and strengthen the law governing how previous offending behaviour is disclosed under the scheme to protect children and other vulnerable people.
The bill reduces the number of disclosure products from four to two, as well as ending lifetime PVG scheme membership, and PVG checks for those under 16.
MSPs expressed concerns over how some of its provisions would work in practice, noting discrepancies between the bill and Acts recently passed by the Parliament on the management of offenders and the age of criminal responsibility. The report also calls for greater clarity about some decision making processes, as well as ensuring that care experienced young people are not disadvantaged by regulations relating to the disclosure of childhood offending.
Committee convener Clare Adamson MSP commented: “There is clearly a balance to be struck with any disclosure scheme. And while we must ensure that children and young people are protected, we must also support those who are moving on from a troubled past.”
The Bill is seen as a package of reforms for the management of offenders and treatment of convictions of individuals under 18 years of age. The Bill will interact with the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act and the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act, both of which were recently passed by the Parliament.