United on need for PVG checks
COUNCILLORS have said it is time for every elected member to be passed ‘fit for duty’ under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) legislation, after a story in last week’s Oban Times.
Concerns raised by dad Angus Files over access to information about his 19-year- old son’s private information led him to a Freedom of Information disclosure showing that two councillors were members of a committee without valid PVG certificates in place. Mr Files, who has reported the matter to Police Scotland, said the local authority had now told him that Anne Horn had completed her certification and ‘ we await confirmation of the position regarding Councillor Julie McKenzie, whose application has been submitted to Disclosure Scotland’.
This week councillors Mary-Jean Devon and Elaine Robertson said that the PVG certification should be in place for all members of the council. Breege Smyth and Julie Mc- Kenzie agreed, with Ms Smyth saying the SNP group was considering making membership of the scheme mandatory.
The Oban Times did not name the councillors, but in a press statement from the SNP, the political group confirmed who they were. The statement read: ‘A recent Freedom of Information request from a member of the public to the council brought to the attention of council staff that two SNP members of the Community Services Committee, Councillor Julie McKenzie and Councillor Anne Horn, did not have up to date PVGs. Argyll and Bute Council and both councillors acted quickly to ensure that this was rectified.
‘At no point was there any non- disclosure of the names of the two councillors.’ In her statement, given to
The Oban Times, Councillor McKenzie said: ‘My completed PVG paperwork was returned and went missing somewhere between the municipal buildings in Oban and Kilmory last October.
‘I was not notified about this until recently and obviously [ I] am also extremely concerned that copies of personal documents have also gone missing. I have returned a second set of completed documents to council staff and they are currently being processed.’
Councillor Horn has now completed her application form which has been submitted to Disclosure Scotland. Councillor Horn told The
Oban Times: ‘I have completed my PVG documentation and the council has a copy confirming there is no obstacle to me working with vulnerable groups. I hope this helps assure whoever was concerned enough to make this inquiry.
‘Vulnerable people have always been a priority for me and I will always act in their best interests.’
Argyll and Bute Council confirmed that since it was established in 2014, the committee has dealt with all but two items of its business in public.
The two items considered in private related to the Riverside Dunoon building contract and a rural housing grant application.