Disclosure Bill receives Royal Assent

24 July 2020

Disclosure -scotlandSafer and fairer Scotland as Disclosure Bill receives Royal Assent.

New laws to transform Scotland’s disclosure regime took a step closer this week.

  • the landmark bill will ensure better protection for children and protected adults
  • the system will be simplified with the number of disclosure levels decreasing
  • allow individuals greater control over the sharing of their background information while ensuring Disclosure Scotland can continue their vital safeguarding work
  • changes to take effect following an implementation period

The new law makes it mandatory for those carrying out regulated roles with children and protected adults to be a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This includes those working in sports, youth coaches and agents for example. 

The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill will modernise and simplify Scotland’s disclosure system. The number of disclosure levels will decrease and individuals will have greater control over sharing their information whilst ensuring Disclosure Scotland can continue their vital safeguarding work. Those with childhood convictions will now be able to provide representations that include details about the wider context of their previous behaviour to ministers before any disclosure to a third party is made. That is a significant change from the current system, improving proportionality and privacy. This more tailored approach will balance the rights of individuals with the potential risk to members of society.

The bill was introduced in 2019 following a public consultation in 2018 which confirmed the PVG Scheme is greatly valued but highlighted proportionality and complexity in the disclosure system as key issues. Disclosure Scotland has worked closely with stakeholders throughout the creation of the Bill and will continue to liaise with them as we put the new law into practice. The changes will not come into effect until a careful implementation period allows the necessary changes to be made to online and paper processes and for organisations to prepare for their new responsibilities. It passed its final stage on 10 June with unanimous cross party backing.

Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd said: “This Government is committed to policies which balance public protection with the right to move on from past offences.

“Introducing a mandatory PVG Scheme will close the safeguarding gap surrounding those few roles which are eligible for PVG scheme membership but the employer chooses not to require proof of scheme membership. 

“The new legislation recognises adolescence as a unique phase of life and delivers on our commitment to affording everyone a better chance to overcome early adversities, including youth offending, in order to allow them to become productive and valued citizens in adulthood.”