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Child worker blacklist will be safeguard and deterrent, says McConnell

AN index of adults unsuitable to work with children will be up and running within 18 months, Jack McConnell, Education Minister, confirmed this week.

It will then be an offence for anyone on the list to work with children in clubs and groups or in any supervisory posts. Employers also face action if they knowingly recruit someone who is debarred.

The index has been the subject of intense consultation following the recommendations of the Cullen inquiry into the Dunblane shootings. It will name people who have been sacked from jobs or voluntary work with children and may pose a further risk. Employers will have to pass on details of people they consider should be on the index and consult it when offering jobs to people woking with children.

Information will be collated by the Scottish Criminal Records Office once the Scottish Executive brings in a Protection of Children Bill.

Mr McConnell said the index would close a loophole which allowed some adults to threaten children through respect gained at work. "This may be connected to sexual matters, but it may also include neglect, carelessness or abuse through bad temper. I want it to be a safeguard and also a deterrent," he said.

Individuals would be able to make representations before they were included on the list with an appeals procedure through a sheriff. Entries will normally be reviewed every 10 years, although young people will have their names reviewed every five.

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