If you’re in Scotland and are applying for certain types of roles in caring, hospital work or teaching, you’ve probably seen the term PVG. This is a relatively new term, and there’s still quite a lot of confusion about what it is, and what it all means.
Scottish Legal System
If you’re new to the UK, it can be difficult to work out the relationship between the four countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which make up the UK. Although considered as one nation for many purposes, each part of the UK has its own traditions and separate systems for things like education and law. Scottish law is quite separate from English law, and there is one Police Force which covers the whole of Scotland. As the legal and courts system is separate, with different names for criminal offences, Scotland has its own organisation responsible for vetting people who apply to work with children or vulnerable adults. This body is called Disclosure Scotland.
Disclosure Scotland is the body which runs the PVG Scheme. PVG stands for Protecting Vulnerable Groups and this explains perfectly the purpose of the scheme, which is to make sure that people who have criminal convictions or cautions for sexual crimes or crimes involving children in other ways are blocked from securing employment in nurseries, schools, hospitals or as volunteer coaches with sporting or youth organisations. You may have heard of DBS checking or the older term CRB checking in an English employment context; PVG is broadly equivalent for those working in Scotland. There is a fee for joining PVG for employees, although volunteers usually qualify for free checking.
The difference between PVG and other types of police vetting is that the checks are continuously updated. The initial application process for inclusion on the PVG scheme is the same as elsewhere in the UK; the applicant completes the form, has their identity checked, the Police check their records and then issue a Disclosure form to the applicant. The applicant then shows their form to the employer who decides whether or not to employ them. Police Scotland will then check subsequent cautions and convictions against the people listed on the PVG database, meaning that employers should find out far more quickly when an employee commits an offence which means they can no longer continue in their position.
Benefits for Applicant
Once you’ve gone through the initial PVG process and enrolled in the update scheme, you’re a member of It for life. If you move house, change name or change employer, you must notify Disclosure Scotland so that they can update your records. It also means that if you start a new job, the fact that you’re enrolled in the scheme means proving your suitability for the work is much quicker as you complete forms as an existing member of the scheme rather than as a brand new applicant. If you move jobs and are no longer involved in work dealing with vulnerable groups, Disclosure Scotland can close your account with them.