Chess Scotland Policy on Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG)
Child Protection and Adults at Risk

Main Policy Document

Background and Legal Requirements

The Chess Scotland PVG policy ensures compliance with the provisions of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003, Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act 2007. The current provisions can be accessed here. In addition, Chess Scotland complies with recommendations and procedures laid down by Disclosure Scotland and the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS).

The Policy is established and administered by the Chess Scotland PVG Lead Signatory, a post holder who is appointed by the Chess Scotland President. This was agreed by Council in 2003. The PVG Lead Signatory reports directly to the President and must not be a Chess Scotland Board Member. The Lead Signatory may have Additional Signatories to assist in PVG matters.

Whilst the basic function of Chess Scotland is to promote chess, it is important that chess related activity is carried out within an environment that regards as its prime concern the welfare of any child or protected adult. Chess Scotland must take all reasonable steps to ensure that those who have regular contact with children and protected adults through paid and unpaid work do not have a known history of harmful behaviour or be otherwise considered as unsuitable to undertake regulated work. Chess Scotland will maintain lists of volunteers who are undertaking regulated work with children and are members of the PVG scheme. (As at the date of writing, 2013, the lists also include volunteers who are not yet PVG scheme members but were disclosed under the previous Child Protection disclosure process. All of these volunteers are required to seek approval to migrate across to PVG scheme membership under the Retrospective Checking process.)

For this reason the following policy and guidelines have been adopted by Chess Scotland to be applicable to all Chess Scotland events, arbiters, coaches and chaperons registered, working and volunteering to work with Chess Scotland.

Indivdual chess clubs, congresses, associations and leagues are very welcome to adopt this policy for their own use if they so wish.


It is the duty of the PVG Lead Signatory (assisted where relevant by any Additional Signatories nominated by the Lead Signatory and approved by the PVG authorities {CRBS}) to examine all volunteers who wish to undertake regulated activity before the volunteers are appointed and listed as authorised to operate in the designated role/s. Volunteers will be required to undergo the disclosure process and obtain a PVG Scheme Record to establish, inter alia, that they have no criminal history that prevents them from a regulated activity and that they are not barred from working with vulnerable groups or being considered for listing as such. It is the duty of the PVG Lead Signatory to take appropriate means to check all relevant information provided.

Anyone putting their name forward as a potential volunteer in a regulated activity may be asked to provide details of two referees who may then be approached by the PVG Lead Signatory. When writing to a referee, Chess Scotland will state explicitly that the potential volunteer is being considered for a position which involves regulated work with children and/or adults at risk, and seeking views on his or her suitability for such work. If the reference provided is vague or ambiguous the referee will be contacted in person or by telephone to discuss the matter further. Such checks will not be taken as a guarantee of integrity and all other safeguards will still apply.

Barred persons on the children's list will be banned from involvement in all Chess Scotland positions and events. Where existing registered volunteers become barred by inclusion on the children's list, their names will be removed from the Chess Scotland registered lists of volunteers and, therefore, will be banned from involvement in all Chess Scotland positions and events. Similarly, persons under review for possible inclusion in the children's list will be removed from the Chess Scotland registered lists of volunteers, although at the discretion of the PVG Lead Signatory they may or may not be reinstated at some future time depending on circumstances.

Chess is an international activity and tournaments are organised for children and vulnerable adults in most countries in the world. Chess Scotland will, if asked by another national association who are hosting a tournament, confirm that the Chess Scotland coaches, arbiters and chaperons have been approved in accordance with the laws of Scotland. Similarly, where coaches, arbiters and chaperons from another country participate in a tournament in Scotland, Chess Scotland will seek a statement from the nation concerned that the coaches and chaperons are suitable persons in accordance with the law of that country.

Confidentiality and Appeal process

Throughout, the Chess Scotland PVG Lead Signatory and, where relevant, any Chess Scotland Additional PVG Signatory, are required to observe strict confidentiality in all aspects of administering the Chess Scotland registered lists of volunteers. For legal reasons as well as considerations of personal privacy, the onus of confidentiality is of paramount importance and must be respected at all times. For example, importance is attached to avoiding any release of information of who has or has not approached Chess Scotland with a view to becoming a registered volunteer and the content of any application or subsequent enquiry. Equal importance is given to names added to or deleted from the Chess Scotland registered lists of volunteers from time to time. These adjustments can be driven by a range of factors ranging from routine to exceptional but, in the normal course of events, no information will be made available whether in response to speculative enquiry, adverse comment or other request.

In recognition of the importance of confidentiality coupled with the significance of the issues surrounding the whole area of PVG (Child Protection), the decision of the Chess Scotland PVG Lead Signatory is final and can only be challenged by an individual who has either been deleted from the registered lists of volunteers or has been denied admission thereto. The individual in such circumstance can appeal direct to the Chess Scotland President to have the Lead Signatory's decision reviewed. The President and Lead Signatory will then discuss jointly the appropriate course of action to be taken in order to protect both junior chess players and Chess Scotland as a whole. The President's decision on the course of action to be taken is final.

Clubs & Congresses

Chess Scotland operates a free service for chess clubs to assist them in ensuring compliance with PVG (Child Protection) legislation. The service is only available to chess clubs which meet both of the following conditions:-

  • be a member of Chess Scotland

  • accept the authority of the Chess Scotland Standards Committee and undertake, in writing, to implement any of its decisions (subject to the established appeal process).

The same service is available to Chess Congresses subject to meeting both of the following conditions:-

  • be an event which will processed through the Chess Scotland grading system

  • accept the authority of the Chess Scotland Standards Committee and undertake, in writing, to implement any of its decisions (subject to the established appeal process).

Contact details for those who achieve PVG club clearance will not be published on the Chess Scotland website unless they wish this and are members of Chess Scotland. The individual concerned would retain his PVG documentation and could display it to interested parties at his/her discretion.

Utilising this service is not mandatory; however, it is suggested that it would be good practice for clubs and congresses to ensure that those involved in regular contact with juniors and therefore undertaking regulated work, has completed the form "Application to Join PVG Scheme" and has then obtained a satisfactory "PVG Scheme Record" (formerly Disclosure Certificate). The good practice recommendation is further reinforced where the club or congress is encouraging junior chess players to participate, e.g. a junior section of a chess club or a junior chess event. Where there is not a specific invitation/encouragement for juniors to participate, it can be argued that the attendance of juniors is "incidental" and, as such, PVG disclosure may be considered unnecessary. The Lead Signatory can advise on this matter.

For information on the operation of the Chess Scotland service for clubs and congresses see separate document Clubs & Congresses

End of Policy Document

April 2013


If you are aware that a child has been harmed.

  • Immediately remove that child from any further harm.

  • Make sure that the person who may have harmed the child is kept away from the child.

  • Inform the police and ambulance (if necessary).

  • Ensure that the parents are informed provided they are not the party who harmed the child.

  • Record the facts as you know them and give a copy to the police and a copy to the PVG lead signatory.


If you are a child who has been harmed.

  • Speak to a parent or other adult you know and trust, tell the truth and do not exaggerate.

  • Phone childline on 0800 1111 and/or look at the website ChildLine


If you have reason to suspect a child has been harmed. Be aware that if something does not appear right it probably is not right.


  • Immediately inform the PVG lead signatory.

  • Record the facts as you know them and give a copy to the PVG lead signatory.

  • Ensure that the child has access to an independent adult.

  • Ensure access to confidential. information is restricted to appropriate officials on a ‘need to know’ basis.


If a child tells you that they are being abused or harmed in some other way.

  • Allow the child to speak without interruption, accepting what is said.

  • Alleviate feelings of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgement.

  • Advise that you will try to offer support, but that you must pass the information on.

  • Immediately inform the PVG lead signatory.

  • Record the facts as you know them and give a copy to the PVG lead signatory.

  • Ensure that the child has access to an independent adult.

  • Ensure access to confidential information is restricted to appropriate officials on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Code of Conduct and Guidance

  • Do put the guidelines into practice.
  • Do treat everyone with respect.
  • Do provide an example you wish others to follow.
  • Do plan activities with children to ensure that more than one other person is present or at least are within sight or hearing of others. This applies to such activities as one-to-one training and travelling to or from chess events.
  • Do respect a young person’s right to privacy.
  • Do have separate sleeping accommodation for adults and young people.
  • Do provide access for young people to talk to identifiable responsible adults about any concerns they may have. Deal with any concerns in a sympathetic and appropriate manner.
  • Do encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like.
  • Do avoid situations that compromise your relationship with young people and are unacceptable within a relationship of trust.
  • Do remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well-intentioned.
  • Do recognise that caution is required even in sensitive moments of counselling.
  • Do recognise that children with differing abilities have differing requirements.
  • Do recognise that children from different backgrounds may have differing values.
  • Do NOT permit abusive peer activities (e.g. bullying, ridiculing).
  • Do NOT play physical contact games with young people.
  • Do NOT have any inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others.
  • Do NOT allow yourself to be drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviour such as tantrums.
  • Do NOT show favouritism to any individual.
  • Do NOT make suggestive remarks or gestures even in fun.
  • Do NOT let suspicion, disclosure or allegation of abuse go unrecorded or unreported.
  • Do NOT rely on just your good name to protect you
  • Do NOT believe "it could never happen to me"

Notes on Unnacceptable Behaviour by Children

  • Where unacceptable behaviour does take place, appropriate sanctions, decided by the Head of Delegation or the person in overall charge should be applied to modify the behaviour.
  • Sanctions applied to each case should take account of the age and stage of development of the young person, be given at the right time, be relevant to the action and be fair.
  • The participant must always be told why the behaviour is unacceptable and the reasons for applying a particular sanction.
  • Corporal punishment or physical force of any kind (eg smacking, slapping or shaking) is illegal and therefore should never be used. It is permissible to take necessary physical action in an emergency to prevent personal injury, either to the young person, other participants or adults, or serious damage to property.
  • Participants should not be shouted at directly, though raising of the voice is permissible in instances where it is necessary to be heard.
  • Participants should be encouraged to develop a sense of right and wrong behaviour.

There is a lot of good advice and information on various websites, for example, NSPCC , ChildLine and Church of Scotland handbook. Any specific question should be referred to the PVG lead signatory.


August 2013


Back to List of Policy Documents

Back to Home Page