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Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020


3.The Act reforms the system of disclosure of criminal records administered by the Scottish Ministers through their executive agency Disclosure Scotland. Before the Act, disclosure functions have been performed under Part 5 of the Police Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”) and Part 2 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (“the PVG Act”). The Act repeals and replaces Part 5 of the 1997 Act, amends the PVG Act and makes provision for new disclosure products. It also amends the provisions in the PVG Act under which the barring service and the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (“the PVG Scheme”) operate, and for connected purposes.

4.The Act also allows scope for digital processes to improve safeguarding and accessing disclosure so that people who would prefer to do so can carry out their disclosure tasks online, including making applications and viewing disclosures.

5.The Act repeals Part 5 of the 1997 Act as it applies in Scotland, and amends the PVG Act in a number of ways. Provision is made for new Level 1 and Level 2 disclosures that replace the basic, standard and enhanced disclosures under the 1997 Act and the PVG scheme record and short scheme record under the PVG Act. The Act makes membership of the PVG Scheme mandatory for anyone in a ‘regulated role’ (the new concept to replace regulated work). Changes are also proposed with regard to Ministers’ barring functions under Part 1 of the PVG Act.

6.The Act:

  • reduces the number of disclosures from four main levels (basic, standard, enhanced and PVG) with ten products to two main levels (Level 1 and Level 2) with four products (sections 1-4 and 8-19), plus ‘confirmation of scheme membership’ as a replacement for ‘statement of scheme membership’ (section 86),

  • changes the manner in which convictions and children’s hearing outcomes accrued by an individual for offences committed while aged 12 to 17 years old are disclosed (sections 13, 20, 22, 27 to 31 and 40),

  • reforms and streamlines the process to have certain spent convictions removed from Level 2 disclosures (sections 20, 25 and 26 to 31),

  • provides Level 2 disclosure applicants with a right to comment on proposed other relevant information (“ORI”) provided by police forces prior to that information being issued to a third party (sections 14 and 15, 23 and 24 and 28 to 31),

  • establishes clear procedures for the registration of accredited bodies who can countersign Level 2 applications, including provisions to ensure the protection of individuals’ criminal history information (sections 46 to 56),

  • provides clarity on disclosure arrangements for individuals directly employing a PVG scheme member for, for example, personal care or home tuition of children (section 56),

  • ends life-time membership of the PVG Scheme and replaces it with a five-year membership period (sections 71 and 72),

  • makes it a requirement that anyone carrying out a regulated role (paid, or unpaid and voluntary) must be a member of the PVG Scheme (section 73),

  • replaces the concept of ‘regulated work’ in the PVG Act with ‘regulated roles’ (sections 74 to 75 and schedules 3 and 4),

  • enables Scottish Ministers to impose standard conditions where appropriate on any individual who is under consideration for inclusion in one or both of the lists held under section 1 of the PVG Act i.e. the children’s list or the adults’ list, and to permit Ministers to give notice that a person is under consideration for listing and of their barred status (sections 76 to 79),

  • provides new referral powers for Police Scotland and Scotland’s councils and integration joint boards (sections 80 and 82), and

  • restates and amend the lists of offences in schedules 8A and 8B of the 1997 Act (schedules 1 and 2).

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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