PVG scheme

Disclosure Scotland (PVG Scheme)

If you need to join the Scottish PVG scheme, or just renew your PVG membership, we can lighten the administrative burden.

In 2010, the Scottish Government introduced a new membership scheme that replaced the previous disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups. This was termed the Protection of Vulnerable Groups or PVG Scheme.

The PVG Scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland which, as an executive agency of Scottish Government, takes on additional responsibilities. These include taking decisions, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, about who should be barred from working with vulnerable groups.

Scheme Aims:

  • Help to ensure that those who have regular contact with children and protected adults through paid and unpaid work do not have a known history of harmful behaviour.
  • Be quick and easy to use, reducing the need for PVG Scheme members to complete a detailed application form every time a disclosure check is required.
  • Strike a balance between proportionate protection and robust regulation and make it easier for employers to determine who they should check to protect their client group.

PVG Scheme Background

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme was introduced by the Scottish Parliament in response to recommendations made by the Bichard Enquiry, in the wake of the Soham murders. The PVG Scheme dictates that an individual working or intending to work with children and/or vulnerable adults in a ‘Regulated’ role would join the Scheme. Members would receive a Scheme Membership Certificate and, in most circumstances, a Scheme Record listing any spent or unspent criminal convictions received to date. If the individual was barred from undertaking such work they would not be allowed to join the Scheme or, if they were barred subsequent to joining, their membership would be revoked after a period of ‘consideration’.

The legislation made it illegal for an organisation to place a barred person in a regulated role. The only viable way to check if a person is barred is by asking them to join the PVG Scheme, or checking if they are an existing member. The organisation can also request to check if an individual has any spent or unspent criminal convictions by viewing their latest Scheme Record. To confirm that the Scheme Record presented is the most recent document and nothing has been added to it since its issue a Scheme Update could be requested. The process of applying for a Scheme Record or Update through the employer would also register their interest in the applicant so any consideration for barring could be imparted to the employer.

How The PVG Scheme Works

Eligible applicants can join the PVG Scheme directly to be provided with a Membership Statement confirming their status. This adds them to the PVG Scheme so that their details are updated with any vetting information that is added to their record. Vetting information is defined as conviction information retrieved from criminal justice systems and relevant non-conviction information held by the Police. Continuing to collect vetting information after a person becomes a PVG Scheme member will help to ensure that new information can be acted upon promptly. In the vast majority of cases, there will be no new vetting information that is relevant to work with vulnerable groups.

If, after careful assessment a person is considered a risk and, therefore, is unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults, Disclosure Scotland will list them on one or both of the barred lists. This means that the person will not be able to become a PVG Scheme member. It is also an offence for a barred person – and for an organisation to permit that person – to undertake regulated work.

What are the different documents that are issued?

Each of these documents should give an indication of the type of work that the applicant has registered to provide (Regulated Work with children and/or adults).

  1. A PVG Scheme Membership Statement – this document is provided to any applicant that has joined the PVG Scheme either as an individual or through an employer. This document confirms they are a member of the PVG Scheme but does not give any indication if there is anything present on their Certificate (PVG Record). Any applicant can obtain a statement without the need to apply through a Registered Body or employing organisation.
  2. A PVG Scheme Record – this document can only be obtained if an applicant has applied through an employer or Registered Body. Upon application a PVG Record will be issued to the organisation that countersigned the application, and the applicant themselves as their copy of the information released. The PVG Record issued will include all conviction information that Disclosure Scotland have released. If an applicant does not own one of these documents, they have lost their copy or the existing document does not include Regulated Activity with the required groups the employer should request a new one. This will also ‘register the employer’s interest’ in the applicant to ensure they are informed should there be any future consideration for barring.
  3. A PVG Scheme Update – this document will confirm the most recent PVG Scheme Record that was issued (through the document number and issue date) and if that document has changed in any way (e.g. no longer valid or new conviction information has been added). If new information is present on the record this document will not confirm what this information is. The only way to obtain the new information would be to request a new PVG Scheme Record.

How DDC Can Help

Organisations can register with Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC) to request checks upon their staff members that are/will be employed in a Regulated Work, in Scotland. Once registered we will provide access to a personalised Client Area where PVG Checks can be requested, tracked and results obtained. The Client Area will ask a series of questions to determine if the applicant is already a member of the Scheme, to determine the type of application required (Scheme Record, Update or initial Registration). DDC Ltd will then send the application pack to the applicant as per the normal paper process.