When applying for a job in Scotland, or anywhere in the United Kingdom, employers may request disclosure and criminal record background checks as part of their hiring process. These checks are carried out to assess an applicant's suitability for a particular role and to ensure the safety and security of the workplace. In Scotland, the main types of disclosure checks are handled by Disclosure Scotland, which is the government agency responsible for these services.

Here are the key points you should know about disclosure and criminal record background checks in Scotland:

  1. Types of Disclosure Checks: There are different levels of disclosure checks available in Scotland, each providing varying levels of information:

    • Basic Disclosure: A basic disclosure check provides information on any unspent convictions the applicant may have. It is available to anyone and can be requested by the individual themselves or by an employer.

    • Standard Disclosure: A standard disclosure check provides information about both spent and unspent convictions, as well as other relevant information held by police. It is typically required for positions that involve a higher level of trust or responsibility, such as working with vulnerable individuals.

    • Enhanced Disclosure: An enhanced disclosure check is the most comprehensive and includes all the information in the standard disclosure, as well as any additional relevant information provided by local police. It is often required for roles involving work with children or vulnerable adults.

  2. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA): The ROA in Scotland governs when and how convictions become spent. For most convictions, a rehabilitation period applies, after which the conviction is considered "spent" and does not need to be disclosed on a standard disclosure check. The length of the rehabilitation period varies depending on the nature of the conviction.

  3. Consent and Disclosure: Employers in Scotland are required to obtain the applicant's consent before conducting any disclosure checks. You will typically be asked to complete a disclosure application form and provide identification. The employer will then submit the application to Disclosure Scotland.

  4. Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme: In certain industries and roles, such as those involving work with children and vulnerable adults, employers may require employees to be members of the PVG scheme. This scheme includes enhanced disclosure checks and ongoing monitoring of an individual's background.

  5. Job Relevance: Employers are expected to request disclosure checks only when they are relevant to the specific job role. The nature and level of the check should align with the responsibilities of the position.

  6. Confidentiality and Data Protection: Disclosure information is sensitive and must be handled confidentially. Employers are legally required to comply with data protection regulations and can only share this information with those who have a legitimate need to know.

  7. Appeals and Disputes: If you believe there is incorrect or unfair information on your disclosure certificate, you have the right to appeal the decision.

It's important to note that having a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify you from a job. Many employers take into account the nature and relevance of the convictions, as well as their recency, when making hiring decisions. Be honest with your potential employer about your criminal record, and provide context and information about rehabilitation if applicable.