Section 7 - Non Legislative Changes
Some stakeholders have suggested that one of the main challenges with disclosure legislation is that it is difficult for individual members and employers to understand, and if this could be addressed, there may be a lesser need for legislative change. Along with the possibility of simplifying the legislation where possible, one suggestion to address these complexities would be the provision of comprehensive guidance on the processes and issues raised.
Disclosure Scotland are currently engaged in discussion about reviewing and updating the guidance that is already produced by them, how it may be made more comprehensive and how this may be made more readily accessible. This guidance could be updated as necessary to reflect changes in law, including any transitional arrangements that may be required if the existing legislation is amended.
Disclosure Scotland has listened carefully to the stakeholder feedback about the legal requirement organisations have to make referrals to Disclosure Scotland about individuals who have been dismissed or moved permanently from working with children or protected adults because of inappropriate conduct of the types listed in section 2 of the 2007 Act.
Our discussions with stakeholders confirm that part of the solution in addressing referral issues is to address ignorance of the duty to refer. To this end, in recent years, the Disclosure Scotland customer engagement team has been supporting registered bodies in their understanding of the duty to refer. The customer engagement team have done this through regular training workshops for organisations, individual visits and bespoke training for organisations and through involvement in external forums and events. A key priority informing the work of the customer engagement team will continue to be addressing known gaps in knowledge about when the duty to refer arises.
Disclosure Scotland is committed to developing more guidance and training in this area and it is clear that following the completion of the PVG Review, and the commencement of a refreshed Scheme, that there must be a comprehensive and appropriate programme to ensure that all who require to know about referrals to Disclosure Scotland do know and that this awareness is maintained over time.
We have also taken heed of the feedback on the complexities around submitting a referral to Disclosure Scotland in its current format. Disclosure Scotland is investing heavily in new technology and we consider that we will, in time for the commencement of the refreshed Scheme, move the referral process into the digital domain. We will co-design with stakeholders and users the forms and inputs that will be completed to make a referral online as well as the necessary arrangements for those who cannot use digital channels.