Types of disclosure

Last updated: 28 July 2020

You may need a criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland if you're applying for paid or unpaid work, volunteering, or things like applying to adopt a child.

Disclosure means sharing sensitive personal information. Disclosure Scotland checks and shares information about people's criminal records. This helps organisations to employ the right people for certain types of work, like working with children or protected adults.

Types and fees

The type of check to be used depends on the voluntary or paid work you're doing or the role you are carrying out.

Type Fee
Basic £25
Standard £25
Enhanced £25
Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme £18 or £59 (see PVG fees)

Organisations can apply by email for routine basic, standard, enhanced and PVG scheme disclosures.

Some workers may be coronavirus (COVID-19) response workers. You will not have to pay for checks about them. This will remain in place until midnight on Friday 25 December 2020.

You will not get a refund unless Disclosure Scotland has made an error or you have paid for a disclosure for a coronavirus response worker.

Basic disclosure

Anyone can apply for a basic disclosure certificate.

A basic disclosure is the most common and lowest level of disclosure available. It includes information on any 'unspent' convictions the person has.

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. Spent convictions are not included on a basic disclosure.

Applications for basic disclosure will be processed according to the Scottish rules under the Rehabilitation periods for particular sentences section of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Disclosure Scotland doesn't monitor people with basic disclosure, so the certificate is only valid when it's created and not for a specific length of time.

Applying in England and Wales

If you need a basic disclosure for a job in England or Wales, apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service. If you want a basic disclosure for personal reasons rather than work purposes, apply where you live – Disclosure Scotland if you live in Scotland, or the Disclosure and Barring Service if you live in England or Wales.

Standard and enhanced disclosure

Standard and enhanced disclosures involve higher level checks.

They are for people doing certain types of work or looking to adopt and are applied for by your employer or a registered body representing you.

  • standard disclosure is for specific roles such as solicitors, accountants or providing a care service
  • enhanced disclosure applies to specific roles such as checking people are suitable for adoption, or applying for certain gaming or lottery licences

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme

The PVG Scheme is for people doing 'regulated work' with children and protected adults.

A PVG certificate contains all unspent and certain spent conviction information. It also contains any other non-conviction information that the police or other government bodies think is relevant.

Disclosure Scotland continually monitor PVG scheme members' records for vetting information including criminal convictions that may affect their suitability to work with vulnerable groups.

You need to be an organisation offering regulated work to apply on behalf of an individual for PVG Scheme membership.

Disregards for historical convictions for sexual activity between men

You can apply for a 'disregard' to have historical convictions for same-sex sexual activity removed from your records. Getting a disregard means these convictions will not show on any criminal record checks issued by Disclosure Scotland.

You can get a disregard for a conviction for any same-sex sexual activity that would be legal nowadays. For example, chatting up or having sex with another man.

If you have a conviction you think may be eligible for a disregard, you can find out more and apply for a disregard at gov.scot.

Contact Disclosure Scotland

Most of the information you will need about criminal record checks or disclosure is in these pages. If you have a question that is not answered here, you can email: response@disclosurescotland.gov.scot