If you’re applying for a job or voluntary position, you may have seen the terms PVG or Disclosure Scotland bandied around. The police checking process for applicants to work with children or vulnerable groups in Scotland is different from other parts of the UK, and the organisation which administers the checks and sends out the certificates is called Disclosure Scotland.

Types of Disclosure

Like its sister bodies in England and Northern Ireland, people applying to work in Scotland might require one of four types of certificate. Anyone can ask for a basic disclosure check to be done on themselves, for any reason. Employers might ask for a standard disclosure to be done for someone working in the law, or applying to hold a firearms licence. An enhanced disclosure is used when people are applying to adopt, or if they want to hold a gambling licence. Employers will know what type of disclosure, if any, is needed.


The vast majority of people who apply for checks in Scotland are doing so because they want to work with “vulnerable groups”, such as children, people with disabilities or elderly people. Employers will ask them to have a PVG check done, which stands for Protecting Vulnerable Groups. These checks are also carried out by Disclosure Scotland. Unlike disclosure processes where a certificate is issued, PVG is a scheme which is constantly updated. Once someone has been through the process of having checks done and is listed on the PVG database, any new information or convictions will automatically be passed on to the employer. This also makes it easier for people to work in more than one place or have a full time job and use their PVG status to also volunteer in their free time. Employers will be able to guide new staff through making their PVG applications and completing the paperwork.

Types of Work Requiring PVG

Employers are not free to decide whether they want to ask staff to join PVG or not as the types or roles which require workers and volunteers to be PVG checked are set by the government. These roles are known as “regulated work”. Regulated work includes work with caring responsibilities, including carers who work with elderly people in their own homes, teaching or supervising children or vulnerable adults, or other types of roles which give the worker unsupervised access to children or protected adults. It also covers volunteers such as sports coaches or Brownie leaders who have contact with children, even though their role is unpaid.

Timescales and Costs for PVG

People who are applying to join the PVG scheme for a voluntary position have the fees waived. When the application to join the PVG scheme is in connection with a paid role, it is up to the employer whether they will meet the costs of making the application or ask the applicant to pay it themselves. Postage time is not factored in to any targets on issuing PVG forms, which are having 90% of applications completed and returned within 14 days.