On the register

THERE are unlikely to be many people who will dispute the wisdom of the Executive's attempts to protect youngsters from predatory or unstable adults (page four). The announcement this week of an organisation bearing yet another of those new Labour titles, Disclosure Scotland (albeit with capital letters), is a welcome attempt to balance safer recruitment against the rights of staff who have a conviction.

This sub-section of the Scottish Criminal Record Office will be able to use some discretion when it comes to disclosure. The notion of three types of disclosure, from basic to enhanced, is a commendably sensible acknowledgement of the variety of settings in which adults work with children - from group contact to being left in sole charge. The main disclosures will, of course, relate to criminal convictions although "enhanced" disclosure for employees seeking particularly sensitive posts will allow the police to pass on other information.

Disclosure Scotland will sit alongside the index of adults unsuitable to work with children and the sex offenders register to provide as much child protection as any system can. As the specialist agencies have been at pains to emphasise, however, these measures cannot be an excuse for complacency. It is a sobering thought that most adults who pose a danger to children do not have a criminal conviction.

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