Further to Disclosure Scotland’s plans to remove the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership fee waiver for volunteers, AVM believes this will have a devastating impact on Volunteering, and so AVM member and volunteer Elizabeth Wigelsworth and AVM Chair Ruth Leonard have prepared the following statement in response to these plans:

“The Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) are deeply disappointed at the proposals to remove the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership fee waiver for volunteers. At AVM we believe this will have a devastating impact on volunteering. 

“We are grateful for the service, support and guidance from Disclosure Scotland as PVG and Disclosure checks play a vital role in safeguarding service users, colleagues and volunteers, by building an environment which actively prevents harm and deters unsuitable individuals who may target charities to gain access to vulnerable people. The current fee waiver for volunteer applications has enabled the safe recruitment of thousands of volunteers across Scotland.

“Volunteers give their time to provide vital support and services across communities. At a time of rising demands for services, increased costs and limited resources, the financial burden placed on voluntary organisations could be unsustainable and lead to a huge impact on services throughout Scotland.

“These proposals come on top of existing pressures on the volunteering sector. The cumulative impacts of the pandemic and cost of living crisis have led to a rapid decline in formal volunteering. In Scotland formal volunteering has declined significantly, from 26% in 2019 to 22% in 2022 (Scottish Household Survey 2022)

“The Volunteering Action Plan sets out the crucial role of volunteering for the wellbeing of our society and outlines key goals to ‘increase volunteering participation’ and ‘widen access to volunteering by understanding and reducing the barriers to participation’. At AVM we believe the proposed changes will act against these goals, and add significant barriers for sustaining and widening volunteering participation.

We urge Disclosure Scotland to reconsider and encourage stakeholders across the voluntary sector to respond to the consultation to ensure a strong evidence base is provided to support this.

You can read more about all of Disclosure Scotland’s changes to their services on their website, and also respond to Disclosure Scotland’s consultation on their fee proposals online or by attending a consultation workshop. The closing date for responses is 28 May 2024.