Disclosure and PVG checks 

Undertaking a PVG check is part of the process in identify if a person is suitable to work with children.

Individuals in clubs who are responsible for recruitment decisions and managing volunteers/staff should be knowledgeable and trained in PVG requirements. The club Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer (CWPO) will play an important advisory role in relation to appointments to work with children, but will not usually be responsible for the final decision about appointments.

Frequently asked questions 

PVG is the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme and is administered by Disclosure Scotland. It ensures that people deemed unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults are stopped from doing so. There are two types of regulated work – one with children and one with protected adults.

When someone applies to join the PVG scheme, Disclosure Scotland carry out criminal checks on the individual and relay their results to them and any relevant organisation via a PVG certificate. The organisation can then assess whether the individual is suitable to work with children and/or protected adults for them. The organisation will be informed of conviction and non-conviction information or if the applicant is under consideration for listing or barred from regulated work.

It’s not just criminal checks that are carried out, there are also checks with regulatory bodies.

Regulated work is if a person's normal duties involves them carrying out activities with children or protected adults or includes work in a specified establishment. Normal duties can be considered as something the individual might be expected to do as part of their post/voluntary position on an on-going basis, for example appearing in the job description or role profile. Normal duties excludes one-off occurrences and unforeseeable events.

If you are doing regulated work for an organisation then it is advised to get checked for each organisation you are involved with. Each sport will have a list of roles that have been agreed as regulated work, so speak to your Child Protection/Welfare Officer to see what these are for your club.

If you parent helpers are there on a regular basis to work with the children then, it would be assumed that they are doing regulated work.  If they are just there on a one off because the team was short of helpers, then this would not be necessary.

No, you need to complete a PVG form for each organisation you are involved with. This will link that organisation to you so they will be informed if you were to become barred or placed under consideration for listing.

When you join the PVG scheme for the first time, you should use the Application to join form.

If you have already joined the PVG scheme using an Application to Join form (whether or not it was for children or protected adults), all subsequent forms would be Existing Member form.

If you are a volunteer in a voluntary organisation (club) then the disclosure is free.  Only those that are paid should be required to pay the fee of £59 for joining for the first time and £18 for any updates.

For ID purposes the organisation must request, where possible, 3 pieces of ID including one piece of photographic ID and something with your current address on it. We understand that not everyone has the recommended forms of ID, but the organisation is responsible for verifying the person’s identity for the PVG application, so must be able to satisfy themselves as to the person’s identity and current address from the ID documentation provided.

A Scheme Record is a PVG check and is the form that everyone uses for joining for the very first time. You would request this if you have not previously joined the PVG Scheme. You would apply for a Scheme Record Update (Existing Member form) if you have previously been checked (whether or not for children and/or protected adults)

You need to give your completed form to your club representative. They will then send the form to Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services to countersign and submit to Disclosure Scotland. Disclosure Scotland will carry out the necessary checks and issue a PVG certificate to both yourself and the organisation/club.

The length of time varies depending on various factors such as volumes of applications at both ourselves and Disclosure Scotland. We generally say anywhere between 2-6 weeks however we cannot guarantee this turnaround time as it can vary.

In most cases the certificate is not sent to the club, it is sent to the governing body and they advise the club of the content.  This information is passed to the nominated person at the club, usually the Child Protection/Welfare Officer. If the certificate is sent to the club it will only be viewed by “those entitled to see it in the course of their duties” which is usually the person(s) responsible for the recruitment decision and/or the Child Protection/Welfare Officer.

The governing body should be in a position to support the club in making decisions about convictions.  Apex Scotland can also provide advice

At the moment it is not mandatory to have a PVG certificate before starting work with children but most sports bodies have made the decision that they do not want anyone working with children until the PVG certificate has been returned.

This is shown on your PVG certificate as Membership Number.  It has 16 digits and starts with the year and month that you joined the PVG scheme.

There is no legal requirement to get a PVG check re-done for an organisation, although some sports bodies have a policy on re-checking after a period of time. Please check with your club.

A Scheme Record will show the following:

  • The type of regulated work the applicant has applied to do
  • unspent convictions
  • spent convictions for certain offences
  • unspent cautions
  • if the person is on the sex offenders register
  • relevant information from the police force
  • prescribed civil orders
  • if the person is under consideration for listing.

The Short Scheme Record will show the following:

  • The type or regulated work the applicant has applied to do
  • If the individual is under consideration for listing

If there is vetting information to disclose on an individual then Disclosure Scotland will automatically print a Scheme Record.

This will only be shown on a Scheme Record certificate. No vetting information will appear on a Short Scheme Record (also known as a Scheme Record Update) or a Statement of Scheme Membership. All types of PVG certificate detail if the person is/is not under consideration for listing.

When an individual is placed under consideration for listing” information in relation to this is sent to each organisation that has an interest in this person and advise them of this. The person is not barred at this stage and many people placed under consideration for listing do not go on to become barred.  The organisations are advised in case they wish to put something in place whilst the person is under consideration for listing.  This action may include, suspending the individual until an outcome is reached, ensuring the person is always with someone else or moving the person to a role that is not regulated work.  The consideration process can take up to 6 months to conclude and organisations will be advised of the outcome by Disclosure Scotland. This is one of the reasons it is important to always carry out an updated disclosure when someone has joined your club from another organisation, so that you are informed if they are placed under consideration for listing or barred

If you think the information on your disclosure certificate is wrong, you are advised to contact Disclosure Scotland to raise a dispute on 03000 2000 40. Disclosure Scotland aim to resolve all disputes within 21 working days. An exact amount of time can't be given. It depends on how complex the problem is. In some cases it may be necessary to provide evidence to confirm your identity. If so, Disclosure Scotland will contact you to arrange this.

There is no legal requirement to carry out a further check as the person is linked to the organisation/club at Disclosure Scotland but some organisations will do this if there has been a time lapse between the old and new role so they have access to all the updated information

The club will only be informed if the offence changes your status to barred or under consideration for listing.  For example, a drink driving offence does not mean a person is unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults so this would not be passed on (unless the person was barred or placed under consideration as a consequence of the offence).  Some organisations do checks periodically to capture this information and some have a policy which advises that should an individual commit an offence whilst with the organisation, they must inform them of this.

If you are applying for a subsequent PVG check for an organisation and are using an Existing Member form there is a section (B7) which relates to changes of personal details. If you are not applying for another PVG check then you can call Disclosure Scotland directly on 03000 2000 40 during the course of your membership if you need to update your details.

  • An individual applying for regulated work when barred from doing so
  • Asking someone to join the Scheme, or asking to see their Scheme Record, for a position which is not regulated work
  • Making a false statement for the purposes of obtaining a PVG certificate/Police Act Disclosure
  • Sharing disclosure information with a third party (except in certain prescribed circumstances)
  • Knowingly employing a barred individual to do regulated work
  • Failing to make a referral to Protection Unit within 3 months when referral criteria have been met

You need to call Disclosure Scotland on 03000 2000 40 and inform them of the organisation you are no longer involved with so they can remove them from your record. Failure to do this could result in them being given information about you that they are no longer entitled to.

The PVG Disclosure Bill was submitted to the Scottish Parliament in June 2019.  Once this has gone through the various levels there, on a date published by Disclosure Scotland, the updated PVG legislation will be introduced. Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services (VSDS) will keep all of their enrolled organisations informed of any updates and changes on their website. This information should be passed to clubs by the governing bodies at the relevant time.

It is intended that the PVG system will go online but no confirmed date has been set yet to take this forward.  Again VSDS will keep enrolled organisations informed of this.

Date published: 18 November 2019
Date updated: 23 January 2020

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