Disclosure Scotland (DS) Checks

Disclosure Scotland operates on behalf of the Scottish Government and is an Executive Agency that processes criminal records checks, very much like the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Its primary function is to help safeguard vulnerable members of society (such as children and at risk adults) from exploitation. They hold details of criminal records and lists of those barred from working with certain specific at risk groups. These records also assist employers to make safer and more informed recruitment decisions. 

Disclosure Scotland Checks

Security Watchdog (part of Capita plc) offers three types of Disclosure Scotland checks – Basic, Standard and Enhanced. On completion of the checks Disclosure Scotland issues a disclosure certificate, which is accepted as proof of an individual's suitability to fulfill a role within employment.

Categories of Disclosure Check

You should select your Disclosure Scotland check based on the risk level of the position you are recruiting at. For most positions this will be the the basic level, whilst positions covering financial duties would select the standard level. Where the position necessitates working with children and at risk adults an enhanced level check is recommended.


Basic Disclosure Scotland Check

A Basic Disclosure (termed as a "criminal conviction certificate" in Part V of the Police Act 1997) is the lowest level of Disclosure and is available to anyone in the UK for any purpose. It contains details of convictions considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or states that there are no such convictions. it is not job-specific or job related and may be used more than once.

Employers and volunteering organisations are entitled to ask prospective employees/volunteers to obtain a Basic Disclosure as pre-employment check.

Standard Disclosure Scotland Check

This is primarily available to anyone involved in working with children or vulnerable adults, as well as certain other occupations and entry into professions as specified in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. Standard Disclosures shows all conviction information, spent and unspent including cautions. If the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the following may also be searched:

  • Protection of Children Act (POCA) List;
  • Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99)

Enhanced Disclosure Scotland Check

This is the highest level of check available to anyone involved in regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. It is also available in certain licensing purposes and judicial appointments. Enhanced Disclosures contain the same information as the Standard Disclosure but with the addition of any other non-conviction information considered relevant by the police or other Government bodies.

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PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups)

Disclosure Scotland are in the process of reviewing their PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) scheme to ensure that the scheme is achieving its purpose of safeguarding vulnerable groups as well as being cost-effective and is moving forward in this digital age. Disclosure Scotland officials have completed several engagement events with both external and internal stakeholders with regards to reviewing the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme. This first series of events were held in order to develop Terms of Reference that would describe the plan for and broad scope of the review as it moves into the next stages. Proposals on the changes will be submitted by Disclosure Scotland to Scottish Ministers to be reviewed and passed through Parliament. Anticipated timeframes at this stage are that the review will be fully completed by 2018/2019 with the changes coming into force in 2020 however these are subject to change.

To accompany the PVG review, Disclosure Scotland aim to undergo a digital transformation by 2020. This will mean that Disclosure Scotland will digitise the PVG application in line with new IT platforms commencing with an online PVG application that can be submitted via Disclosure Scotland’s website. This new application will validate the application as you go, reducing queries and improving the turnaround time. Disclosure Scotland will then be looking at producing an API for PVG applications in the future.