Expert supports Lib Dem plans to subject politicians to PVGs

Ahead of the vote tomorrow, the Moira Anderson Foundation and its founder, child protection expert Sandra Brown, have urged MSPs to back the bid by Scottish Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP to require all elected members in Scotland to undergo a PVG check before they can spend time unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults.

The proposal, which will be put to a vote of the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee tomorrow, is designed to safeguard against exploitative or predatory behaviour.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

“I am grateful to the Moira Anderson Foundation and Sandra Brown OBE for their support.

“The reaction of most people to my proposals is simply shock that these basic safeguards don’t exist already.

“Nobody else in a position of power and influence would be allowed to be alone with children or vulnerable adults without this formal accreditation. It can’t be one rule for everyone else and another rule for elected politicians and other powerful figures working within political parties.

“Other workplaces and sectors have made huge leaps forward in creating a safeguarding culture. It is time politics starting taking this as seriously. The fact you have received thousands of votes isn’t any guarantee of your suitability to be alone in the presence of vulnerable people.

“We know that some people working in politics can use their status to manipulate, target and exploit. People need protecting from that and a PVG is an important part of the safeguarding framework. It is a straightforward check that applies to more than a million professionals and volunteers already.

“There is no good reason to continue to exempt elected representatives because they meet the bar of having power and influence over vulnerable people.

“Tomorrow will be a test of how seriously this Parliament takes safeguarding. I urge the government and opposition parties to back this common sense safety mechanism.”

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