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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Emma Gordon

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from BBC Holyrood Live!

    Nicola Sturgeon

    That's all from BBC Scotland's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 16 January 2020.

    Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish government will order a review of Scotland's education system - though the Tories have already raised fears it could be a "whitewash".

    The first minister said ministers would abide by the decision of the Scottish Parliament after her administration was defeated in a debate on schools.

    MSPs voted by 63 to 60 for a "full review" into the senior phase of the curriculum for excellence, as well as a full review of broad general education, yesterday.

    However Ms Sturgeon appeared to question whether this was necessary, noting the education secretary has already instructed an examination of the senior phase of education, while a review into schooling up to the end of S5 was carried out a few years ago.

  2. SNP MSP questions planned removal of EU flag


    SNP MSP Alasdair Allan raises a point of order about the removal of the Europe flag planned on 31 January.

    Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh says the corporate body discussed this at length and he accepts there is a huge amount of symbolism attached to flags.

    It is a matter for the corporate body and no where else in parliament, he adds.

  3. MSPs back Disclosure Bill at stage 1

    Children's choir

    MSPs have unanimously backed the general principles of the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill.

  4. Disclosure Scotland to work with volunteer organisations on under 16s

    Children's Minister Maree Todd

    Children's Minister Maree Todd says some people are not suitable for certain roles due to past conduct, but this must not prevent all those with convictions from accessing work.

    She confirms she is looking into how to clarify principles in the bill without limiting flexibility to ensure each case can be approached individually.

    Regarding digital transformation, Ms Todd says lessons have been learned from the original rollout of the PVG scheme and the recent changes at Disclosure Scotland.

    Disclosure Scotland will work with volunteer organisations to ensure opportunities will continue to be offered to children, she adds.

  5. Concerns about IT delays in PVG scheme

    Alison Harris

    Alison Harris closes for the Conservatives, saying MSPs all agree that vulnerable people need to be protected.

    In making the system digital we must learn lessons from past mistakes, she says, and raises concerns that many PVG renewals - when the new bill is enacted - could lead to delays.

    A recent update to IT has already caused delays in issuing certificates, she tells MSPs.

  6. Labour MSP expresses concern about bill understandability

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson expresses concern about the understandability of this law, adding we must elaborate further.

    It is very difficult to scrutinise this bill without the forthcoming guidance if such high level details are not included on the face of it, he argues.

    Let's take our time, Mr Johnson says, adding that if we need to take time at stage 2 to take further evidence, MSPs should do so.

  7. Lib Dems will back bill

    Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart

    Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart says balancing the rights of individuals to get on with their lives and the risk to society is a delicate and complex process.

    She wonders about the relationship between this bill and the age of criminal responsibility, which she hopes this parliament will choose to raise further in the future.

    Concern is expressed about the safeguard against a failure to be a member of the PVG scheme becoming a heavy handed response to bad admin.

    The bill has the potential to make genuine improvements to the disclosure process, though it is not ready yet, she says.

    The Lib Dems will support its general principles at decision time, she concludes.

  8. Reducing child volunteer numbers could be 'unintended consequence'

    Ross Greer

    Ross Greer for the Greens says those who present a risk cannot be allowed to work with children.

    It can be difficult to get the balance right, he says.

    He continues, saying specific concerns raised at committee stage were broad and must be addressed later in the process, like removing under 16s from the PVG scheme.

    Mr Greer says unintended consequences could lead to a fall in the number of child volunteers.

    He concludes, saying the Greens back the bill.

  9. Background: Scottish sports fall short in background checks for coaching children

    Coach and team

    Almost a third of sports in Scotland could have active coaches working with children without full background checks, BBC Scotland reported in 2017.

    Of 45 governing bodies responding, 14 said they may have unchecked coaches.

    Swimming had 170 out of 915 coaches working with children who have not been checked as part of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

    Overall, there were 1,882 unchecked coaches out of 31,175 according to figures provided by Sportscotland.

    Read more.

  10. Call for review of impact on care experienced young people

    Mr Gray urges the Scottish government to publish an analysis of this bill on the impact of other legislation before it is passed.

    He suggests there must be greater clarity on the face of the bill around the principles to be applied, in terms of allowing people with convictions to move on with their lives.

    The Labour MSP also calls for the government to review the impact of the legislation on care experienced young people, who may be disproportionately impacted by it.

    He concludes by confirming his party will back the bill tonight and seek to improve it at stage 2.

  11. Labour: The consequences of getting this wrong could be huge

    Iain Gray

    Iain Gray for Scottish Labour says his party supports the general principles of the legislation.

    He calls the bill a more quiet law, but one which will influence and affect a great deal of the population.

    The consequences of getting it wrong are exemplified by the ongoing Child Abuse Inquiry, he says.

  12. Parents must have 'absolute trust' in system

    Ms Smith says there are issues with coherence because the bill covers various portfolios and she expresses concern about the timescale for stage 2 as a result.

    The decision making provisions in this bill remain rather complex and time should be given to consider this, she adds.

    The Tory MSP says the purpose of this bill must be about trust in the system, so parents can have "absolute trust" not just in the person in charge of their child but the process around them.

    She says there must be clarity on the definition of regulated work.

  13. More clarity on the details are needed - Tory MSP

    Liz Smith

    Conservative MSP Liz Smith says on the whole the bill is a 'good move' but the detail needs work.

    Fundamental problems need to be addressed she says.

    There needs to be more clarity on how this bill will fit in with other laws which already exist, like the Management of Offenders Act 2018, which directs self disclosure.

    Ms Todd responds, saying childhood offending will be treated differently from adult offending.

  14. Education committee backs general principles of bill

    Committee convener Clare Adamson says it is vital this bill is fit for purpose, telling the chamber of how one person has had to disclose a crime committed at 16 which impacted the rest of his life.

    The committee was concerned about some the discrepancies between this bill and those of other bills currently under scrutiny or acts recently passed, she says.

    Clare Adamson
    Image caption: Clare Adamson chairs the Education and Skills Committee, which has been scrutinising this bill

    Ms Adamson suggests more could be done to ensure the context of offences can be set out when a disclosure is made, particularly for those age 12 to 17 at the time of the offence.

    There is some concern about under 16s not being able to apply for the PVG scheme as it could be interpreted that this group of people are not suitable for certain volunteer roles, she adds.

    She also highlights the committee has backed the waiving of fees for the PVG scheme for volunteers.

    The education committee backed the general principles of the bill in its stage 1 report.

  15. Children's minister: I'm still open to other views

    Maree Todd

    The children's minister says a broad range of stakeholders have been consulted so far, and tells the chamber that process is not over yet.

    We are working together to get this right, she says.

    The bill seeks to address concerns with the PVG system, she adds, so that vulnerable groups are protected.

    Ms Todd says clear guidance, which is being compiled, is needed.

  16. Statutory guidance on relevant police information to be created

    Ms Todd says the Supreme Court has accepted the bill is appropriate with regard to removing offences from disclosure for some crimes.

    The system will mean individuals can request a review of why offences are included before any potential employer sees it, she explains.

    Statutory guidance will be created to sit alongside the changes on the disclosure of relevant police information (previously known as ORI), the minister adds.

    She confirms she will bring forward amendments at stage 2 to ensure no one has to self-disclose a childhood conviction if it would not otherwise be revealed by the state.

  17. Bill will protect most vulnerable and those wishing to move on from their past

    Maree Todd

    Children's Minister Maree Todd says her team has been listening to the views of many people on this matter, adding big changes are coming with the Disclosure Bill.

    "It will safeguard the most vulnerable, while protecting the rights of people to move on from certain past behaviours."

    It introduces new processes so that people can challenge items on their disclosure, which is particularly important for those who offended while children, she says.