A basic disclosure is a criminal record check. You get a certificate showing any 'unspent' criminal convictions you may have. Unspent means you need to declare them. You can use this certificate to show to prospective employers or other people that need to know this information.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, some criminal convictions can be treated as 'spent' – meaning they're not relevant to basic disclosure – after a certain length of time. This is because a basic disclosure only shows any unspent convictions you may have.
You can apply online for a basic disclosure yourself for any reason, for example:
- a job application
- voluntary work
- an airport security pass
Coronavirus (COVID-19) priority workers
You do not have to pay for disclosures if you are a coronavirus response worker.
To qualify for a free disclosure, a coronavirus response worker must meet all 3 criteria.
- You must only need a disclosure because of your coronavirus work.
- Your role must only exist in response to coronavirus.
- You must be working in a qualifying sector.
If the organisation needs someone in that role anyway for work not normally about coronavirus, you will still need to pay.
If you do not meet all 3 criteria:
- we will not process the application and will return it
- you will have to resubmit and pay for a routine disclosure
Coronavirus qualifying sectors
The qualifying sectors are:
- healthcare (including dental care)
- social work
- social care
- prisons, law and order, and justice
- education (early years, primary and secondary)
- emergency services
- critical national infrastructure
- energy and water supply
- local and central government public services
- environmental protection
- animal health and welfare
- funeral services
- medicines and pharmaceutical supply
- food supply and food processing
- chemical supply
- public transport
- postal and delivery services
- financial services
- food retail
You can email COVID19@disclosurescotland.gov.scot to check your role is for a coronavirus response worker.
Apply for yourself
Most people apply online for a basic disclosure for themselves.
Organisations applying for workers
Some organisations can apply for a basic disclosure for their workers.
Organisations that submit 25 or more basic disclosure applications each month can bulk apply through the Disclosure Scotland application service.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about this service.
Organisations with less than 25 basic disclosure applications should ask their workers or volunteers to apply online.
Information displayed on the paper certificate
Your basic disclosure certificate will show:
- the date it was issued
- your name
- your address
- your date of birth
- any unspent convictions
You should enter your name on the form exactly as you want it to appear on the certificate, including any middle names. Disclosure Scotland can't change this later as part of the application.
Basic disclosure time period
Your basic disclosure shows your record of unspent convictions at a point in time (the date your certificate was issued), so there is no set time that it lasts for. If you already have one and apply for a new role, it is up to the new person or organisation whether they'll accept your existing basic disclosure certificate or ask you to get a new one.
You do not have to pay for disclosures about coronavirus response workers. This will remain in place until midnight on Friday 25 March 2022.
For all other workers, the cost of a basic disclosure is £25. You'll need to pay when you apply using a credit or debit card.
How long does it take to get my certificate?
You're likely to receive your basic disclosure certificate within 14 calendar days, although it might take longer if there are any mistakes or if Disclosure Scotland need to contact you for more information.
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