2.6.1 Membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme is mandatory for anyone who is employed or who volunteers to work with vulnerable groups within the Catholic Church in Scotland. When an individual completes the PVG application form, a self-declaration is completed, providing information about any convictions, spent or unspent. At this initial stage, the applicant is required to disclose any convictions in writing and place them in a sealed envelope for the attention of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.
2.6.2 The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser must discuss any disclosed convictions with the DRAMT to decide if the application can continue to be progressed. In all cases, the DRAMT is bound by strict confidentiality and must respond with sensitivity and justice. The care and protection of the vulnerable must be paramount in their concerns.
2.6.3 On any occasion when a conviction is recorded on a PVG Certificate, the Diocesan Safeguarding Oﬀice must check if this conviction has already been disclosed by the applicant. If it has, then the DRAMT must consider the relevance of the conviction (in the context of the role being considered) and must oﬀer recommendations to the Bishop as to whether the person should be given full or restricted approval as a volunteer.
2.6.4 If convictions are recorded without prior disclosure by the applicant, then the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser must discuss with the DRAMT how to raise with the applicant his/her failure to complete the Self-Declaration form honestly.
2.6.5 Certain convictions will mean that an application cannot be progressed because it is not safe for the individual to act as a volunteer with vulnerable groups. Such convictions would include serious sexual oﬀences and being ‘Listed and Barred’ from working with children or ‘Listed and Barred’ from working with adults26Details of the Listing and Barring process are provided in Appendix 3.
2.6.6 If a person is being considered for Listing, either at the point of joining the PVG Scheme or whilst a member, then the National Safeguarding Co-ordinator, as the Lead Collator of the PVG scheme for the Catholic Church in Scotland, would be informed by Disclosure Scotland. If contacted, the National Safeguarding Co-ordinator must then alert the respective Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser regarding the individual who is being considered for Listing. This is intended to ensure that the applicant does not commence his/her role or, if already in post, is suspended from this role until a final decision has been made by Disclosure Scotland.
2.6.7 Once the decision has been made, Disclosure Scotland will inform the applicant and the oﬀice that collated the original PVG application (for most, the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service). When informed by Disclosure Scotland, the NSC must immediately inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser or Religious Institute. The DRAMT must then be convened to consider if the volunteer can commence (or continue) in the role, if the decision has been that he/she will not be Listed. If the applicant is ‘Listed & Barred’ , it would be illegal for him/her to apply for a PVG in order to commence (or to continue) any work involving contact with vulnerable groups. If the individual were a parish volunteer, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser must inform the Parish Priest and the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
2.6.8 If a cleric, a religious or a church employee has been dismissed or a volunteer has been deemed unsuitable to be working with any vulnerable groups, there is a legal requirement on a Diocese/Religious Institute to refer the individual to Disclosure Scotland for consideration under the ‘Listing & Barring’ process. The DRAMT must consider all grounds for making such a referral and must make an appropriate recommendation to the Bishop / Major Superior who must be the signatory to the referral. Guidance on the completion of a referral is available from Disclosure Scotland.27Details of how Disclosure Scotland operates Listing and Barring are provided in Appendix 2.
2.6.9 In 2015, all Dioceses in Scotland agreed that, if any applicant is listed on either List, then he/she must not be allowed to take up any paid or voluntary position which involves contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults within the Catholic Church in Scotland.