5th September 2023
Disclosure (Scotland) Act - Important Update
Disclosure Scotland are continuing to work on the implementation of the Disclosure (Scotland) Act and Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services (VSDS) have been heavily involved in discussions as the full implementation date moves ever closer.
The Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 will improve the disclosure system in Scotland by removing unnecessary barriers for people with convictions as they seek employment or other opportunities, and enhance the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.
The Act includes:
- the introduction of simplified disclosure products and people having more control over their information
- an individualised approach to the disclosure of childhood offending and rights of review for convictions disclosed, to enhance fairness and proportionality
- replacing the concept of ’regulated work’ with ’regulated roles’, making it more easily understood
- the PVG scheme becoming mandatory for those carrying out regulated roles with children and protected adults
- the ability for Disclosure Scotland to impose conditions on PVG scheme members who are under consideration for listing.
Over the next two years, Disclosure Scotland will be transforming the disclosure system and implementing the policy reforms contained in the Act by 1 April 2025. Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services (VSDS) will continue to work closely with Disclosure Scotland to implement these reforms.
This journey started with PVG online which was introduced in 2020, improving how PVG members apply and quickening the time to deliver disclosure results in a virtual recruitment landscape. This innovation continues to support over 90% of our customers who apply for our services online. It is continuing with the introduction of digital disclosure results, providing customers with an end-to-end digital service of the PVG scheme under the current law, offering a faster, more user-friendly and accessible experience.
To lay the groundwork to get to the next part of the Disclosure Scotland journey, they have:
- published a revised Code of Practice, allowing them to gather stakeholder feedback on how to approach this code for implementing the Act
- reappointed the Independent Reviewer, which prepares them for implementing the ability of applicants to review information disclosed about them
- commenced sections 83 to 85 of the Act, bringing into force the reforms in relation to applying for removal from the barred lists
- issued guidance to Police Scotland around the disclosure of ‘other relevant information’
- developed an online account, currently in testing, to provide a basis for how our customers will interact with Disclosure Scotland before and after the Act goes live.
Disclosure Scotland played a vital role in the Scottish Government’s response to COVID-19. At an organisational level, they successfully met the crisis head on, and ensured that safeguarding and disclosure services were constantly available to meet the needs of the national response. However, in responding to this priority, this meant less resources and time to implement the Act. But they have still managed to make great strides towards the delivery of the Act. Disclosure Scotland has worked to improve their customer service and delivering a digital PVG scheme which will eliminate the need for paper certificates, enabling people and organisations to apply for and receive disclosures online.
Disclosure Scotland is committed to implementing the fairness and safeguarding outcomes achieved by the Act. Disclosure Scotland acknowledge that implementation is significantly technical, and it will affect many individuals and organisations in Scotland. As such, Disclosure Scotland is striving, as much as possible, to take forward work on implementation in a collaborative manner and with stakeholders’ participation informing the product design. Based on the stakeholders’ feedback, they are working towards implementing the reforms in the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 by 1 April 2025. This timeframe will ensure that:
- stakeholders and customers, have time to prepare for the changes required to move to the new disclosure regime
- Disclosure Scotland will deliver the new services at a standard that maintains an excellent level of service to the people of Scotland
Disclosure Scotland will continue to work with stakeholders and customers to help develop the processes and guidance required to implement the Act.
VSDS will work alongside and in support of Disclosure Scotland to ensure that there is appropriate training, guidance and support available to the voluntary sector in support of the changes to the disclosure process.
Expanding digital services
Disclosure Scotland recently launched an online results service for the PVG scheme and are piloting this with a limited number of customers. This is an important development in the move towards implementation of the Act and they will continue to work with stakeholders and customers through 2024 to make the transition to all digital services. VSDS have been working closely with Disclosure Scotland to deliver this for enrolled bodies in the future. Please stay up to date with their expanding digital services and other changes happening in Disclosure Scotland by following them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and signing up to their quarterly e-bulletin.
What you can do now
By law, PVG scheme members need to tell Disclosure Scotland if their personal details have changed. By informing them, you will ensure that Disclosure Scotland holds accurate address and contact information for PVG scheme members. For information on how to update your PVG details, timescales and legal requirements please visit their website at www.mygov.scot/manage-pvg.
To ensure compliance with data protection legislation, organisations should notify Disclosure Scotland when a PVG scheme member stops doing regulated work with them. This will help Disclosure Scotland identify those who no longer need to be in the PVG scheme and eliminate unnecessary monitoring. Disclosure Scotland can provide your organisation with a list of PVG scheme members that your organisation is linked to. Please request this by contacting the dedicated team at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your countersignatory and registered body codes in your request.