Explanatory Notes

Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

2014 asp 1

17 January 2014

Commentary on Sections

National Confidential Forum

Section 31 – Schedule 1A

Schedule 1A – Part 6 - Confidentiality

139.Part 6 sets out arrangements to ensure the confidentiality, as far as possible, of information obtained by the Forum in the course of carrying out its functions.

140.Paragraphs 13(1) and (2) make express provision that certain persons listed are not to disclose information provided to them in connection with the work of the Forum and which is not otherwise in the public domain.

141.Paragraph 13(2) does not prevent the disclosure of information between the persons listed in paragraph 13(1) where this is necessary to carry out the work of the Forum, including the preparation of annual reports by the Forum (in accordance with paragraph 12) and any other reports from the Forum (in accordance with paragraph 11). Under this exception to the duty of confidentiality information from the Forum can also be disclosed to enable preparation of the annual reports of the Mental Welfare Commission.

142.Paragraph 13(4) sets out the circumstances in which a member of the Forum must disclose information to the police. Information must be disclosed to the police where, in the opinion of the member acting in good faith, such disclosure is reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of an offence involving the abuse of a child.

143.Paragraph 13(5) enables a member of the Forum to disclose information to the police where an allegation is made by a person who has given testimony that an offence involving the abuse of a child has been committed. Disclosure is made to the police in these circumstances where it is, in the opinion of the member of the Forum acting in good faith, in the public interest to do so.

144.Paragraph 13(6) provides that a court may order the disclosure of information held by the Forum for the purposes of legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal (including for the purposes of the investigation of any offence or suspected offence), if it is satisfied that such disclosure is necessary in the interests of justice.