Information for Parent Councils about the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme as required under the PVG (Scotland) Act 2007.
Please find below some guidance on the PVG scheme. This is not a legal opinion or authority, but a starting point to help you decide what is appropriate for your Parent Council. The Disclosure Scotland portal is at https://www.mygov.scot/pvg-scheme/. Other links are at the end.
The terms “regulated establishment” and “regulated work” are central to understanding when an application to join the PVG scheme will be required or may be advisable.
All schools are regulated establishments because all schools have children in them and all children are members of a designated “vulnerable group”. Thus almost anyone employed by a school, or normally or regularly working in a school through direct engagement with that school, will be subject to PVG Scheme membership requirements under the school’s status as a registered body or establishment.
Anyone undertaking tasks for or on behalf of a Parent Council is operating under the auspices of that Parent Council and not the school; this is an important distinction which will be further explained below.
Note that the provisions of the 2007 Act only apply to children who are not members of your family; it has nothing to do with your own children, grandchildren etc.
Regulated work (regarding children) exists when:
- there is some form of contract (verbal or written) for you to do “work” for an organisation (paid or voluntary);
- the “work” is aimed at children;
- you are undertaking any regulated activity (eg teaching; in sole care of children; hosting an organised event; supervising children); and
- it is part of “normal duties”, ie not an occasional duty or “one-off”.
There is leeway for the application of common sense in determining what is a “one-off” or occasional duty. Doing something once a week is unlikely to deemed occasional unless it is only for a short period, eg for one half of a term, and not then repeated. Something that reoccurs once or twice a term may be deemed occasional if each time it involves different children (eg helping with day trips for various different year groups or classes). Helping to supervise a school trip that lasts a week is likely to be a one-off event.
If alternative safeguarding processes and procedures are in place, eg an “undisclosed” adult is always accompanied by another adult (eg a teacher) who is a PVG Scheme member (and not barred) when dealing with children, then more regular or routine “work” such as classroom volunteering does not automatically require PVG Scheme membership. However, as the reality will tend to be that a regular volunteer is likely to become more trusted with time, and thus potentially be left unsupervised with children, alternative safeguarding measures should only be used as a temporary solution with a predetermined time limit.
A role such as being a Parent Council member that requires regular attendance at school (eg for meetings) will not require PVG Scheme membership if there is no possibility or realistic likelihood of unsupervised contact with children or the undertaking “normal duties” with children.
It is worth noting also that if you are acting for or through a Parent Council then it is up to the Parent Council to decide if PVG Scheme Membership is needed, and not the school, as the regulated work would be being done for the Parent Council, even if it happens in school.
Technically a school (or Local Government Council etc) cannot ask for sight of a PVG Scheme Record for a Parent Council Member if that member is not doing regulated work for the school – a school making such a request could be committing an offence. However a PVG Scheme member can show their own PVG Scheme Record voluntarily to anyone they like. A School cannot insist on any Parent Council member being a PVG Scheme member just because they are on a Parent Council.
The primary legislation is at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2007/14/contents.
Regulated Work is defined at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2007/14/schedule/2.
The Scottish Parent Teacher Council has useful guidance at https://www.sptc.info/pvg-and-your-parent-group-debunking-the-myths/.