Protecting Vulnerable Groups

Staff at VANL are able to carry out Disclosure Scotland checks for staff and volunteers of member organisations. The information below is aimed at both volunteers themselves and volunteer-involving organisations.

Information for Volunteers

Because many of the volunteering opportunities available in North Lanarkshire involve volunteers coming into contact or working with children, young people or vulnerable adults, some volunteer-involving organisations may request that you agree to a police check (usually a PVG Scheme Check) before you can start volunteering with them.

It is very rare that this will present a problem in allowing you to start in your volunteering placement; the only inconvenience may be it may take a few weeks for the check to be processed before you can start.

The important aspect to remember is that the onus is on the volunteer-involving organisation you are involved with to ask you about police checks and to process the check for you.

You do not have to agree to a police check being run on you and the organisation cannot run a check on you without your permission, but you may not be accepted into your volunteering placement if you do not allow a check to be run. The results of the check should be treated with the utmost confidentiality and if procedures are followed correctly, only one member of the volunteer-engaging organisation requesting the check will see the results. If you are worried about this, it is a good idea to ask your volunteer supervisor what policy they have in dealing with police checks for volunteers.

If you have a previous conviction that you are concerned might affect your volunteering placement, it is best to discuss this privately with your volunteer supervisor or your VANL adviser on first contact. Having past convictions does not necessarily mean you cannot become involved in volunteering in the present.

In many instances, mostly where volunteers are not dealing with young people or members of the public, a police check will not be required. Some volunteer-engaging organisations may request references from you similar to an employment situation.

Information for Organisations

VANL can provide support to local volunteer-involving and other third organisations in the administration of free PVG Scheme Checks for new or prospective volunteers who will be working with children, young people or vulnerable (protected) adults.

The Protection of Children Scotland Act states that all new volunteers working with children, young people or vulnerable adults should have a police check carried out. Since 2010, new legislation (Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act) has changed police check legislation, making the process easier and more accessible for third sector organisations.

VANL, as an intermediary body of the Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services (essentially the voluntary sector arm of Disclosure Scotland) provides advice and support to volunteer-involving and third sector organisations in relation to processing PVG Scheme Checks for their staff and volunteers. VANL also hosts Disclosure surgeries for volunteers to have their PVG Scheme Checks completed confidentially and free of charge.

How Can Your Organisation Gain This Support?

Firstly, your organisation will have to register and become a member with VANL.

Additionally, your organisation should have a Protection of Vulnerable People policy, a Rehabilitation of Offenders policy and a Safe, Secure, Use, Handling and Destruction of Disclosure Information policy before it can have PVG Scheme Checks conducted. VANL can provide advice on developing these policies if required.

Once you are a registered and member organisation of VANL, and have these three policies in place, VANL can work with you in processing any required PVG Scheme Checks for staff or volunteers.

Further Advice or Information

If you are a volunteer or an organisation and would like further information or advice about police checks or Protection of Vulnerable Groups legislation, please contact VANL on 01698 358866 or e-mail dutyofficer@vanl.co.uk.