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Dunblane register won't be ready for two years

IT COULD be more than two years before a national system for checking adults who want to work with young people is finally in place, five years after the Dunblane shootings.

The Scottish Office has confirmed that fresh legislation will be needed before thorough vetting procedures can be introduced. An early duty for members in the Scottish parliament could be to review any changes.

Ministers will also reopen talks in the next few weeks on how best to establish what is billed as a "consultancy services index", which will have statutory backing.

The index will contain information about criminal convictions and other details about adults who want to work with children. But it will be separate from the Scottish Criminal Records Office, based at Strathclyde Police headquarters in Glasgow.

Ministers stress that youth workers, helpers and parents in clubs will be expected to secure an "enhanced criminal record certificate" under the Police Act, at a cost of between pound;5 and pound;10. Information will come from the index.

Youth organisations are happier that information will now include more than criminal convictions but remain concerned about costs being transferred to volunteers.

Carol Downie, chief executive of Youth Clubs Scotland, which supports 5,500 volunteers, said: "It is difficult to get to grips with what is actually happening but we are pleased there is to be further consultation. There is still uncertainty about how the checks will work in practice but this is only part of the protection for children.

"Recruitment strategies and policies for children and volunteers are the key to all this."

4H News TESJfebruary 19J 1999 Turning a page: school librarians forecast that their services will increasingly be in demand to support learning and teaching through ICT gerry mccann

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