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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for local authorities

Last updated: 21 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 18 Oct 2021

Guidance to help local councils enforce the vaccine certification (or COVID passport) scheme.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for local authorities


This guidance relates to the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (the “Regulations”), as amended, and is in place to support local authority officers in carrying out their role under the regulations.

As set out in the Regulations, relevant businesses and event organisers are required to have a reasonable system in place to ensure that only permitted individuals enter the relevant premises or events covered by the regulations. This reasonable system should include a process for removing or refusing access to those not permitted to be on the relevant premises. Permitted individuals are those set out in regulation 7A(3) of the Regulations. In short, permitted individuals are fully vaccinated individuals with certification or individuals who can show a record of a negative result from a LFD or PCR test taken within the previous 24 hours, some additional specific categories for individuals who are:

  • under 18,
  • attending the premises for certain work-related purposes,

The Regulations came into force on 1 October 2021 and will be reviewed on a three-weekly cycle. Enforcement began on 18 October 2021, and the requirement for the person responsible for a relevant premises to provide their local authority with a compliance plan on request also began on that date. The guidance allowed a 4 week phased approach for late night premises to reach 100% of checks: this means 100% checks should have been in place w/c 22 October 2021. Local authorities should have regard to the national Four E’s enforcement policy namely Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce. 

From 5 am on 6 December 2021, to attend premises and venues in scope,  individuals can show proof they have received a negative result from a LFD or PCR test for the COVID-19 virus taken within the previous 24 hours as an alternative to showing their COVID vaccine certificate. We are encouraging everyone to take regular LFD tests, even when they have a COVID Vaccine Certificate.

From 27 December, additional restrictions on businesses and live events meant that any premise in scope of certification was closed. Therefore certification, while still in place in legislation, was not actively in use.

As of 17 January, live outdoor events with capacity above 500 were able to go ahead, with the existing certification requirements applying. The Scottish Government has increased the expectation of the proportion of attendees who should be spot checked to 50% or 1000, whichever is higher.

As of 24 January, nightclubs and late night premises are able to reopen. Certification will again apply to late night premises which meet the regulatory definition. This definition has been updated. Late night premises are now defined as any which:

  • alcohol is served at any time between 0000 hours and 0500 hours
  • there is a dancefloor, or space where dancing by customers takes place
  • live or recorded music for dancing is played

This guidance should be read in conjunction with:  Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for businesses and event organisers - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Policy objectives of the scheme are set out here: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

First published: 18 Oct 2021 Last updated: 21 Jan 2022 -