Published: 16th May 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Scottish Cycling encourages government to reconsider removal of free PVGs for volunteers

Scottish Cycling, along with a number of other Scottish Governing Bodies for Sport, have written to the Scottish Government to raise our concerns, and ask that the proposed PVG fee structure changes are reconsidered. 

The Scottish Government has opened a consultation and is seeking views on a new fee structure for the different types of disclosure under The Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020. This includes membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme and changes to how discounts and fee waivers are applied to volunteers and other groups. 

Under the current scheme, a fee waiver is applied to ensure all volunteers can access a free PVG, but proposals to remove the free PVG membership for volunteers, in favour of a discount scheme for people on benefits, care experienced young people and volunteers, is a massive concern for the sporting sector. 

This will create an additional barrier for volunteers at a time when they have never been needed more. Volunteers are the lifeblood of community work and play a critical role in the delivery of sport and physical activity in 13,000 clubs across the country. 

What is a cause for even more concern though is that the increased cost to individuals or their clubs, could lead to a drop off in those applying for PVGs, increasing the risk to children, young people and people from vulnerable groups, when participating in sport across Scotland.  

As an example, a volunteer who is currently able to obtain a free PVG membership under the proposal will need to pay a discounted fee of £28, with the prospect of this increasing after March 2026. In addition, with the PVG Act 2020 coming into force in 2024 this will remove lifetime membership of the PVG Scheme, and the proposal will mean that volunteers will be required to pay a renewal fee every five years. People could face costs so substantial that they are forced to stop volunteering. 

One of the primary objectives across the sporting sector is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants. We believe the sporting sector faces real risks should the proposals be implemented. 

We know the importance of sport and physical activity in supporting the physical and mental health & wellbeing of our population and we cannot let the proposed changes to the free structure for PVG scheme membership put this in jeopardy. That is why we are asking the government to reconsider these changes. 

Whilst the consultation is ongoing (until Tuesday 28th May 2024) we would urge members of our community to share their thoughts, using this link.