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 you need depends on the work you're doing or the role you're carrying out.
|Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme||£18 or £59 (see PVG fees)|
Organisations can also apply by email for standard and enhanced disclosures.
You will not get a refund unless Disclosure Scotland has made an error.
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.
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
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.
Behaviour before the age of 12
The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 says a child under the age of 12 years cannot commit an offence. Disclosure Scotland may still disclose information about behaviour before the age of 12.
Disclosure Scotland will only do this after an independent review for either:
- an enhanced disclosure
- a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme record
Find out more about behaviour under the age of 12 and disclosure.
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.
Disclosure Scotland runs free training webinars to help employers understand the different types of disclosure. You can sign up on the Disclosure Scotland events page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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: email@example.com
Phone: 0300 020 0040
Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm
Friday 9am to 3:30pm
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