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About Disclosure Scotland

Disclosure Scotland helps employers make safer decisions when they're recruiting people.

It also makes sure unsuitable people don't work with vulnerable groups, including children and protected adults.

What it does

If an employer wants to hire someone, they can ask Disclosure Scotland for a certificate which gives details of the person's criminal convictions.

If the person doesn't have a criminal record, the certificate will make it clear to the employer that they have no convictions.

Disclosure Scotland also manages the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme. This is a membership scheme for people who work with children or vulnerable adults. Employers can check a member's record at any time to make sure they're still safe to work with these groups.

To keep these records accurate, Disclosure Scotland can access a range of police data, as well as data from other sources.

Its responsibilities include:

  • issuing certificates for criminal records checks for basic, standard or enhanced disclosures
  • adding people doing work with vulnerable groups to the PVG Scheme
  • deciding whether a person should be added to or removed from a barred list
  • maintaining the barred lists for regulated work with children or protected adults

Acts and legislation

If you'd like to see the legislation Disclosure Scotland falls under, you can read it here:

Find out more about how this legislation relates to disclosure application processes.

The Disclosure (Scotland) Act

The Disclosure (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent in July 2020.

The new laws aim to make the disclosure process in Scotland simpler and easier to understand.

Some of the changes in the act include:

  • issuing all disclosures under one act
  • reducing the number of disclosure products
  • using digital services to make employment checks quicker and to reduce the burden on employers and applicants
  • extra clarity on who qualifies for the PVG Scheme
  • giving applicants more control over their disclosure data
  • more fair and transparent review processes

It also aims to make vulnerable groups safer by:

  • requiring everyone who works with vulnerable groups to become a member of the PVG Scheme (this includes overseas work through Scottish organisations)
  • giving more powers to Police Scotland
  • giving more referral powers to local authorities and Health and Social Care partnerships
  • focussing on the people who have power over children or protected adults, instead of job titles, to decide if they need to join the PVG scheme
  • giving new protections to personal employers

Find out more about the Disclosure (Scotland) Act legislation.

Disclosure Scotland has worked with stakeholders to create the Act. They will continue to liaise with them as they put the new law into practice. The changes will not come into effect immediately.

There will be a careful implementation period so both:

  • Disclosure Scotland can make the necessary changes to online and paper processes
  • organisations can prepare for their new responsibilities

The Act passed its final stage on 10 June 2020 with unanimous cross party backing.

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.

Scotland Works for You

Scotland Works for You is a guide used to help evaluate the meaning of someone's criminal record to a job or opportunity they've applied for. It's also for people with convictions to help them make positive applications for employment.

Service Level Agreement

Disclosure Scotland works within a Service Level Agreement, which is an official promise to work to a certain level.

Its Service Level Agreement is to send 90% of disclosure certificates within 14 days (as long as the application was completed correctly and there are no further enquiries).

This is measured from the day it receives the application to the day the certificate is sent.

How Disclosure Scotland is managed

Disclosure Scotland is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government and runs on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Its chief executive reports to the Minister for Children and Young People.

Disclosure Scotland's Board provides support and advice to the chief executive on:

  • business priorities
  • performance
  • budget
  • risk


There are a number of publications that give you more information about Disclosure Scotland.

Framework Document

Sets out the vision and objectives of Disclosure Scotland.

Corporate Plan

Sets out how Disclosure Scotland will change its services between 2021 and 2025.

Annual report and accounts

Gives the most recent report on Disclosure Scotland's finances.

Business plan

Explains the key objectives for 2020/21 and how Disclosure Scotland will achieve them.

Procurement Strategy

Sets out how Disclosure Scotland will plan and manage its procurement processes 2017 to 2022.

Procurement Annual Report

Reports on Disclosure Scotland's procurement activity.

Register of Interests

Record of the financial interests of Disclosure Scotland's executive, non-executive and independent members.

Board minutes

Gives the details of the latest board meetings.

Audit and Risk Committee minutes

Gives the details of the latest committee meetings.

Corporate Parenting Plan

Explains our commitments to Corporate Parenting and how we will achieve them.

Data protection

Disclosure Scotland is fully committed to compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018. Read more about Disclosure Scotland's privacy policy.

Race equality commitment

Disclosure Scotland has pledged to follow the race equality recommendations made by Scottish Parliament to the public sector.


Disclosure Scotland cares about the service you receive and welcomes your feedback, as this can help them improve their service.

Disclosure Scotland takes complaints seriously and will respond fully to any concerns you raise.

Contact Disclosure Scotland:

Media enquiries

Email: DSwebteam@disclosurescotland.gov.scot

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