Scotland politics

Child protection checks to be strengthened

football training Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds of people have been coaching children without any background checks being carried out

Legislation aimed at strengthening the protection of children and other vulnerable people has been introduced at Holyrood.

It will ensure background checks are carried out on everyone who works with children, including sports coaches.

BBC Scotland revealed last year that hundreds of coaches across all sports had not been checked.

It followed a series of allegations of historical child abuse that have been made about British football.

The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill will make it mandatory for anyone working with children or vulnerable adults to be checked under the PVG scheme.

Lifetime membership of the scheme will also end, with PVG certificates instead having to be renewed every five years, and the application process will be simplified.

Automatic disclosure of minor criminal offences, for example those committed as a young person, would also end - with decisions taken on a case-by-case basis.

Children's Minister Maree Todd told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland that people had not always been clear in the past about whether they needed a PVG certificate.

She said: "What we've tried to focus on is the type of roles where a person is in a position of power over a child or a vulnerable adult, so it will also include roles like sport scouts.

"Scouts may well hold a child's future and dreams in their hands and they're clearly in a position of power over that child.

"In the past it wasn't always necessary for them to be scheme members. Now they will need to be."