This chapter deals with the making of referrals by organisations, personnel suppliers, regulatory bodies and the NHS Tribunal. Court referrals are briefly mentioned in chapter 8.
The PVG Act aims to provide a robust system by which unsuitable people are prevented from doing regulated work with children or protected adults, and by which people who become unsuitable are identified. For it to work effectively, it is necessary for organisations to pass on information to Disclosure Scotland that indicates an individual may be unsuitable to do regulated work so that it can be properly evaluated and appropriate action taken.
The process of providing such information to Disclosure Scotland is called ‘making a referral’. The PVG Act places a duty on organisations and personnel suppliers to make a referral when certain criteria are met. Broadly speaking, the criteria are that: (a) an individual doing regulated work has done something to harm a child or protected adult and (b) the impact is so serious that the organisation has (or would) permanently remove the individual from regulated work. The first of these criteria is known as the referral ground.
The PVG Act gives organisations and personnel suppliers a power to make referrals where the criteria were met before the PVG Act comes into force.
Regulatory bodies and the NHS Tribunal have the power to make referrals, not least to cover circumstances where an organisation or personnel supplier could not, or negligently did not, make such a referral.
Making a referral is very important. Failure to refer an individual may mean that an individual who is unsuitable to do regulated work does not get barred from doing that type of work and can go on and harm other vulnerable people in other settings.
Personal employers cannot make referrals. If they have concerns about someone who is working for them, or who has worked for them, then they should raise the issue with the service provider or the police.