Scotland

Mandatory disclosure checks for youth sport coaches proposed

youth football match Image copyright Getty Images

Proposals for mandatory disclosure checks for all sports coaches working with children and other vulnerable groups will be published later.

It follows criticism of the system when allegations of child abuse in football emerged.

Disclosure Scotland will publish a consultation to review the Protecting Vulnerable Groups or PVG scheme.

Proposals include simplifying the disclosure system and making membership mandatory for those in sensitive roles.

At the height of the child abuse in football scandal, Holyrood's health and sport committee said the current system of checks was not working properly.

It warned the PVG system - which covers those working with children and the vulnerable - "may not be preventing unsuitable people from doing regulated work".

The committee also raised concerns about a backlog of PVG checks waiting to be carried out on coaches and officials working with young players in football, and argued there was a "compelling" case for the scheme to be made mandatory for all sports organisations in Scotland.

BBC Scotland revealed that 2,500 youth football coaches did not have full background checks.

'Forward-thinking regime'

As well as making the PVG scheme mandatory, the review also includes plans to make membership time-limited.

Alongside simplifying the disclosure scheme, the changes also aim to make the system "respond better to young people's circumstances" and use digital technology to better and more efficiently meet customer needs.

Children's Minister Maree Todd said: "We have a duty to make Scotland a fair and safe society, supporting people into work, protecting children and those in receipt of medical or care services.

"Establishing the PVG scheme in 2011, the Scottish Parliament created a forward-thinking disclosure regime to balance safeguarding individual rights to respect for their private life.

"These new proposals will allow Disclosure Scotland to improve its services to customers, simplifying and modernising our disclosure system so that it is fit for a digital future, whilst continuing to ensure people receive the best possible protection."

She added: "I encourage all organisations and individuals who are involved with disclosure to give us their feedback."

The consultation on the review will run for 12 weeks.

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