Here are some of the most common questions we get about the Disclosure certificate and the process for getting one.
Your Disclosure Certificate
Q: I’m starting a new job, do I need a new Basic Disclosure?
A: It’s the employer’s responsibility to decide whether they will accept an existing Disclosure certificate or whether they want you to apply for a new one.
Q: I’m self-employed – do I need a new Basic Disclosure each time I start work with a new client?
A: Your client will decide whether they will accept your current Basic Disclosure. They are within their rights to ask you to apply for a new one.
Q: Am I already covered as I had a disclosure done a few years ago?
A: There’s not expiration date on a Basic Disclosure, just the date it was issued. Employers have their own policies about when they require Disclosures to be renewed. They may accept your old Disclosure check, but don’t have to.
Q: How long does it take certificates to be issued?
A: We can’t control the processing of your Basic Disclosure as that’s handled by Disclosure Scotland. Their average turnaround time is 10 working days. It can take longer if any points on your application need to be clarified.
Q: Who can get a Basic Disclosure?
A: Anyone can ask you for a Basic Disclosure, but it’s your choice whether to supply the information or not. If it’s connected for a job, many employers will help you to get your Disclosure before starting work.
Q: What happens to the certificate?
A: The person whose name is on the certificate has the certificate sent to them, and then keeps it.
Q: What information is shown on a Basic Disclosure form?
A: Only unspent criminal convictions are shown on a Basic Disclosure form. Spent convictions, cautions and warnings will not be shown on a Basic Disclosure.
Q: How does my certificate arrive?
A: Basic Disclosure certificates are sent out to you by first class post to the address you’ve supplied on your application. Once you’ve submitted your application, you can’t change the address it should be sent to.
Q: When does my certificate expire?
A: There’s no expiry date on any Disclosure certificates. It’s up to each employer to decide how often employees or contractors should apply for a new Disclosure. Usually, a new certificate is asked for annually.
Filling in the form
Q: I don’t have a passport or National Insurance number, what do I do?
A: Give us a call or complete the form on our contact page and we’ll talk you through your options.
Q: How do I make a payment online?
A: We use Surf and Pay to manage our online payments, but not all types of credit or debit cards are accepted. If you are having problems getting a payment to go through, contact us and we’ll try to resolve the matter.
Q: Help – I can’t get my online application to be accepted?
A: If your application won’t move to the payment page, double check that you have completed all of the required information, and in the format required. Contact us if you’re still having difficulty after checking.
Q: What does “move in year” mean on the application form?
A: This just means the year that you moved to the address listed on your application form. If you’ve moved more than once in the same year, just put the same year for all. Remember that you’ll need to list all of your addresses going back five years to get your certificate.
Q: What does a spent conviction mean?
A: How long it takes for a conviction to be considered spent will depend on the type of sentence ordered for the offence, and the associated rehabilitation period. These requirements are all laid out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which covers all convictions in a criminal court, hospital orders under the 1983 Mental Health Act, juvenile court cases and some other disciplinary proceedings.
The length of time for a conviction to be spent (also known as the rehabilitation period) depends on the length of the original sentence. “Sentence” doesn’t just refer to a prison term; it could also be probation, a fine or a conditional discharge. The rehabilitation period usually runs from the date of the conviction in court and are as follows:
- Prison sentence of more than 2.5 years – never considered spent
- Prison sentence between 6 months and 2.5 years – spent after 10 years
- Youth custodial sentence between 6 months and 2.5 years – spent after 10 years*
- Sentence for corrective training of between 6 months and 2.5 years – spent after 10 years*
- Dismissed with disgrace from military service – 10 years*
- Borstal sentence – 7 years*
- Dismissed from military service – 7 years*
- Sentence in Youth Offending Institution or youth custody for 6 months or less – 7 years*
- Most sentences resulting in a fine – 5 years*
- Young offender sentence between 6 months and 2.5 years – 5 years
- Probation order or community service (someone over the age of 18) – 5 years
- Probation order or community service (under the age of 18) – 2.5 years or until the order stops, whichever is longer
- Sentence in hospital under the 1983 Mental Health Act – 5 years, or 2 years after the order stops, whichever is longer.
- Young offender detention up to six months – 3 years
- Care order, supervision orders, binding over, reception order or conditional discharge – 1 year after the order is made or 1 years after it expires, whichever is longer
- Absolute discharge – 6 months
- Disqualification – whatever the period of the disqualification is
- Cautions, warnings, reprimands – as soon as they are issued
- Conditional cautions – as soon as the condition ends
*Periods are halved when the person concerned was under 18 when convicted.
Q: Can you help me get a Standard or Enhanced check?
A: Unfortunately we can only help with Basic Disclosures
Q: Can I still apply for a Disclosure if I live overseas?
A: Yes, we’re happy to take overseas applications.
Q: How can I get in touch?
A: Use our contact page to send us a message, and we’ll try our best to get back to you within 24 hours.
Q: Who should pay for my Disclosure Certificate?
A: There are no set rules about who should pay for a Disclosure. Often, employers are happy to meet the cost of the Disclosure but they aren’t legally obliged to do so.
Q: What types of payments are accepted?
A: We accept many different types of cards. Contact us and we can advise of which cards we accept.
Q: Is it possible to cancel my application?
A: If you ask to cancel before the application has been submitted to Disclosure Scotland, we’ll try to offer you a full refund. If it’s already been sent away, we won’t be able to refund the £25 fee which Disclosure Scotland has already taken. Our extra service fee may be refunded, but if we’ve already worked on your application we may take an administration fee. Please refer to the terms and conditions for full details of the refund and cancellation policy.