Safe recruitment practiceEligibilityDetermining whether an individual is doing regulated workTypes of disclosure records availableApplication formAuthenticationProcessing a PVG Scheme membership applicationIssuing disclosure recordsWhat happens after that
The PVG Scheme provides an organisation with a means of satisfying itself that those doing paid or unpaid regulated work for it are not barred from doing so. If vetting information exists this will appear only on the Scheme Record. This might prove helpful when an organisation is deciding whether an individual is suitable for the specific work being offered. The fact that they are not barred and that vetting information has been checked does not necessarily make them the best candidate, or even suitable, for the post. It is important to carry out proper recruitment checking of aspects such as skills and qualifications. Many organisations also check references to ensure that information asserted in an application form or CV is verified by previous employers or someone independent. The decision to offer regulated work should be determined by the content of the Scheme Record and information gathered using good recruitment practices. There is information about safe recruitment practice on the Scottish Government website (and see also section 1.10) . That decision about whether an individual is suitable for a position must always be taken by the organisation.
Membership of the PVG Scheme is open to people doing, seeking to do, or planning to do regulated work with children or protected adults. Also, certain professional regulatory bodies might ask their members to join the PVG Scheme. Individuals entering regulated work for the first time should expect to be asked by their employer or organisation to join the Scheme. Individuals who are already doing regulated work with children or adults should expect in time to be asked by their employer or organisation to join the Scheme.
Determining whether or not an individual is doing regulated work, and what type, is an essential prerequisite before any PVG Scheme application can be made at the request of an organisation. This is covered in chapter 2.
When a person applies to join the PVG Scheme for the first time, there are two types of disclosure record available:
- the Scheme Record (see section 1.4) - at the request of an organisation; or
- the Scheme Membership StatementThe Scheme Membership Statement is a disclosure record that shows that a named individual is a member of the PVG Scheme and the workforce(s) to which the membership relates. It also shows whether or not they are under consideration for listing for that workforce. (see section 1.6) - at the request of a personal employer or by the individual alone in anticipation of doing regulated work in the future.
A Scheme Record Update (see section 1.5) is not available to new entrants because it only makes sense in the context of a pre-existing Scheme Record.
When an individual wishes to join the PVG Scheme, they will need to fill in a detailed application form and provide proof of identity, just like for enhanced disclosure. (A simpler application form is available for subsequent disclosure applications by PVG Scheme members.) This application form will need to be countersigned by a registered body if it is for a Scheme Record or by a personal employer if it is for a Scheme Membership Statement and the personal employer wants to receive a copy. The application form does not need to be countersigned if it is made by the individual alone in anticipation of doing regulated work in the future.
Where an individual applies to join the PVG Scheme in anticipation of doing regulated work or for a personal employer, Disclosure Scotland will carry out authentication by checking the evidence of identity provided by the individual. Copies of supporting documentation should be provided with the application. Original documents should not be sent.
Where an individual applies to join the PVG Scheme at the request of a registered body, they will verify that identity documentation has been shown to them and countersign the form. Disclosure Scotland will still carry out some identity checks of its own and if necessary might request copies of supporting documents from applicants.
Where an individual is volunteering for regulated work in a qualifying voluntary organisation in Scotland, the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) will be able to countersign the form as long as the organisation is enrolled with CRBS for that purpose. Disclosure Scotland will still carry out authentication checks in the background and if necessary might request copies of supporting documents from applicants.
When an application to join the PVG Scheme is received, Disclosure Scotland will first check that the individual is not already barred from doing regulated work. If the individual is barred, they will be refused PVG Scheme membership. If the individual is not barred, Disclosure Scotland will create a unique record of scheme membership for the individual and search for vetting information from a range of sources. In over 90% of cases, no vetting information will be found and the individual will become a member of the PVG Scheme.
If vetting information is found about an individual which does not have a bearing on the individual’s suitability or otherwise to do regulated work, then it will be added to their record. If the application was in respect of a Scheme Record, this vetting information would appear on it.
If vetting information is found about an individual which does have a bearing on the individual’s suitability or otherwise to do regulated work, then it will still be added to their record. Additionally, it will be examined by the Protection Unit at Disclosure Scotland to determine whether or not to put the individual under consideration for listing.
If an applicant for PVG Scheme membership is placed under consideration for listing, that person will still become a PVG Scheme member during the time the consideration is taking place, and the disclosure record issued in response to the application will state that fact. If the application was in respect of a Scheme Record, the vetting information would also appear on it. For more about the consideration for listing process see chapter 7.
Assuming the individual is not barred, Disclosure Scotland will issue the requested disclosure record and this will also mean that the individual is now a member of the PVG Scheme:
- A Scheme Record is issued to the individual and the person in the registered body who countersigned the application and to the GTCSThe General Teaching Council for Scotland. or SSSCThe Scottish Social Services Council., where the applicant has included a registration number on the application form. If the individual is working for an organisation which is not the registered body, the disclosure record will be passed to that organisation. The most common example of this is the role of CRBS acting as a registered body for voluntary organisations.
- A Scheme Membership Statement is issued to the individual and to the personal employer who countersigned the application (if any).
Once an individual is a PVG Scheme member:
- Disclosure Scotland will keep the individual’s PVG Scheme membership and vetting information up to date. This process is called continuous updating and is one of the biggest differences between enhanced disclosure and the PVG Scheme. Enhanced disclosures simply provided a snapshot of a person’s criminal conviction history at the point-in-time when the disclosure was issued. No information was updated by Disclosure Scotland until a further application, if any, for an enhanced disclosure was made and a new enhanced disclosure was issued.
- This means that access to disclosure records is much faster because all the information is already held by Disclosure Scotland. For an explanation of the three types of disclosure record, see sections 1.4 to 1.6 below.
- Any new vetting information that comes to light about a PVG Scheme member will be assessed. If the information suggests that the PVG Scheme member may have become unsuitable to do regulated work with children or protected adults, then they will be placed under consideration for listing. See chapter 7 for more about consideration for listing.
- Disclosure Scotland will keep a record of registered bodies and regulatory bodies which have an interest in the individual.
- If a PVG Scheme member is placed under consideration for listing or barred, the individual and any organisation(s) with an interest in the individual will be notified.
Just because an individual is a PVG Scheme member (and so not unsuitable to do that type of regulated work) does not necessarily mean that the individual is suitable to work in a specific position. That decision must always be taken by the employer, informed by the content of their Scheme Record as well as other good recruitment and employment practice.