Volunteer Criminal Disclosures PVG Scheme

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This article is designed to give you very basic information on how Criminal Record Disclosures impact on you and your volunteers. Please note that this applies to Scotland only. If you need more specific or in depth information you should contact Disclosure Services for further advice.

What is a Disclosure?

A Disclosure is a document containing impartial and confidential criminal history information held by the police and government departments which can be used by organisations to make safer recruitment decisions. Disclosure information could include:

  • Details of criminal records.
  • Information about a person's inclusion on children's or adults' lists.
  • Other relevant information held by a local police force or government body.
  • Or state that there is no information.

There are different types of disclosure provided by Disclosure Scotland: Basic disclosure, Standard disclosure, Enhanced disclosure and Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. For the involvement of volunteers not all of these levels of disclosure are appropriate or indeed available.

If your organisation is involving volunteers in Regulated Work then your volunteers will need to have membership of the appropriate PVG Scheme before they start to do that regulated work. It is a criminal offence for someone who is listed (barred) to do regulated work in the UK with the protected groups they are listed for. It is also a criminal offence for an organisation to employ a listed person to do that kind of regulated work.

What is the PVG Scheme?

The PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) Scheme introduced tighter regulations on who may work or volunteer with vulnerable adults or children.

  • People involved in Regulated Work must become members of the PVG Scheme.
  • There are two barred lists which prevent people from working with vulnerable adults, children or both.
  • Records are updated automatically.
  • Rather than completing a full disclosure for every new organisation, an update can be applied for which only details any changes since the previous Disclosure.

Disclosure for a Volunteer?

Disclosure is part of your duty of protection towards everyone in contact with your organisation. It is not a substitute for robust selection, good support and supervision structures or training programmes. Together with PVG membership (where appropriate), these provide a framework to ensure that any child or vulnerable adult in contact with your organisation is kept safe.

Careful consideration should be taken before deciding which volunteer roles will require PVG Membership. If it is not Regulated Work then you cannot apply for PVG Membership for that role. The process of disclosure takes time and this should be explained to your prospective volunteers to prevent it becoming a barrier.

Application and cost

Disclosures via the PVG Scheme are provided for free to voluntary organisations via Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services. This applies to volunteers only and Disclosures for paid staff have a cost associated to them[1].

Further Information

Types of Disclosure

How to complete your disclosure forms (videos by Volunteer Scotland)

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