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Referring Employees to the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Barring List (Scotland) Policy

This policy is intended to set out the values, principles and procedures underpinning this care service’s approach to staff recruitment in line with the national health and social care standards set out in My Support, My Life, particularly statements made under Standard 4: “I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support”.

Policy Statement

This policy reflects the guidance provided by Disclosure Scotland on how care services should make referrals to its Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) list under the circumstances and conditions that they are legally required to do so.

The purpose of the PVG list is to make sure that anyone who has been guilty of misconduct by harming service users should not be able to obtain employment elsewhere as a social care worker.

The PVG list applies to anyone employed to provide personal care to service users and associated care tasks. It includes employment agency or bank staff and any volunteers who have been recruited and might be involved in the care and support of a service user.

It does not apply to individuals invited in by service users and relatives as visitors, or under some private arrangement, where they have no contract of employment with the service as such.

The organisation is legally obliged to refer any employee within the above range to the PVG list if they have been found to have committed misconduct, which has harmed a vulnerable person or put them at risk of harm and in doing so has breached the code of conduct for social service workers and/or committed a criminal offence in doing so. Any social service worker who is found to have committed harmful conduct will be subject to a PVG referral.

The impact for a person of being placed on the PVG list is to be barred from working again with any vulnerable group.

It is the responsibility of {{org_field_name}} to refer a staff member to the PVG list if there is evidence that the person in question has harmed or placed at risk of being harmed a vulnerable person in receipt of a care service.

By “harmed” is meant demonstrably ill-treating a service user or subjecting a service user to one or more forms of abuse. Such behaviour makes them liable to charges of misconduct, which if proven as misconduct makes the person unsuitable for further or future employment with vulnerable groups. The person will then be ineligible for inclusion on the PVG (registration) membership scheme.

A referral to the protection section of Disclosure Scotland is based on information alerting it of concerns that they have caused harm or risk of harm to a service user. A referral is made on the form made available by Disclosure Scotland.

There is a legal requirement on the management to refer a care worker for possible inclusion on the PVG list where there is evidence that the person has been guilty of misconduct by harming a service user or putting a service user at risk of being harmed during the course of their work and as a result has been dismissed or removed from their post.

How a Person Might be Referred to the PVG List

The provider will refer a person for inclusion on the PVG list when it has dismissed or removed a person from working in a care role with service users (or would have if the person had not left or resigned) because that person has been cautioned or convicted for a relevant offence or engaged in relevant conduct in relation to service users (ie an action or inaction (neglect) that has harmed a person or put them at risk of harm).

A referral follows after a disciplinary investigation and evidence gathering in order to establish if any allegation has foundation. Disclosure Scotland will proceed with its assessment when it has obtained adequate information and evidence that satisfies it that the person has engaged in harmful conduct.

In exceptional circumstances, {{org_field_name}} might make a referral before it has completed its own investigations when it has good grounds for believing that service users could be put at risk without the referral being made. Disclosure Scotland will then decide if it has sufficient evidence to make a full assessment in line with its procedures.

What It Means to be on the PVG Barred List

Referral to the PVG barred list will be made where harmful conduct has occurred and where service users are put at risk by action not being taken. If a person is included on the list, they will not be offered work in a care position and of course would be unable to continue to work in {{org_field_name}} having regular contact with service users.

In line with Disclosure Scotland procedures, the referred person will have the opportunity to make representations by providing information and evidence as to why they should not be placed on the list(s) and to appeal against their inclusion on the list.

In the event of a person being placed on the list, they will be committing a criminal offence if they seek or accept employment as a care worker that brings them into regular contact with vulnerable adults or children under the definition of regulated activity.

Under the barring rules, the service knows that it will also be committing a criminal offence if it knowingly appoints or continues to employ someone who is on a barred list, which allows them to carry out work with a vulnerable person.

If the service discovers any of its care workers is on the PVG barred list, although they appear to have had clearance (eg as a result of a change of name or identity), it will not be able to continue to employ them and the person will be dismissed. These provisions are written into all employee contracts.

Any employee referred to the PVG barred list(s), who is also registered with a professional body regulated by, eg the Nursing and Midwifery Council, could also be subject to investigation by their professional regulator in line with their respective professional codes of conduct as a result of the referral having been made.


All staff are made aware of the procedures that will be followed in the event of their causing harm to any the people to whom they are providing a service. This forms part of their induction training and is repeated throughout their continuing training on the protection of vulnerable groups.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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