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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
New laws to protect children
Children in a playground
Children's groups have welcomed the move
A legal loophole which allows some unsuitable adults to work with children is to be closed under new legislation.

The Protection of Children Bill contains provisions for the creation of a list of adults deemed unfit to work with children.

Under the proposals anyone who poses a threat to a child's safety will be listed on a register - even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

The move was welcomed by children's groups when it was announced last year - but civil rights lawyers said clear safeguards would be needed to ensure that the information used was more than malicious rumour or gossip.

Under existing laws, employers can check the criminal background of anyone working with children.

Karen Gillon
Karen Gillon: "Significant Bill"

The new legislation will also take into account people who have been sacked from paid or voluntary work because of inappropriate behaviour towards children.

Regulated childcare groups will be legally required to report any unsuitable adult to the register.

Other employers will be strongly encouraged to refer individuals who are thought to pose a risk.

It will be illegal for anyone on the list to continue to work with children, or even to apply for a job working with them.

Submissions sought

Playgroups, nurseries and schools will be obliged to check the list before taking on staff.

The Bill has been published by the Scottish Parliament's education, culture and sport committee.

Convener Karen Gillon said: "The committee recognises the significance of this Bill to children throughout Scotland.

"We are therefore committed to ensuring that as many people as possible have an opportunity to make their views known as this Bill makes its way through parliament."

Individuals and organisations are being invited to submit written evidence, the closing date for which is Monday 30 September.

See also:

30 May 02 | Scotland
04 Jun 01 | Scotland
27 Oct 00 | Scotland
07 Jul 00 | Scotland
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