The terminology surrounding the different sorts of paperwork and checks which are done on a new employee can be confusing and keeps changing over time. For some jobs in Scotland, you may be asked to consent to a Basic Disclosure. The organisation which administers these checks is called Disclosure Scotland. The aim of a Basic Disclosure check is to check whether the person presenting themselves for employment has any criminal convictions.

Can Anyone Ask for a Basic Disclosure?

It is standard practice to ask anyone applying for a job whether or not they have any criminal record. In many jobs, the employer will then make a judgement call depending on what the applicant tells them; someone who has one conviction for shoplifting when they were a teenager will be looked up much more favourably than an older person with a 20 year history of convictions for fraud, for example. In addition, basic disclosures may be done when someone is applying for a voluntary position on a committee, if they want to apply for a licence to run a pub, landlords may ask for them from prospective tenants and they are often produced in support of a Visa application, to show the applicant has not been in trouble with the Police.

Getting A Basic Disclosure

Anyone can apply to Disclosure Scotland to obtain a basic disclosure certificate. This can be done by completing an online form, as long as your current address is in the UK. If you are living outside the UK, a paper form has to be completed. Once the application has been submitted, along with the £25 fee, Disclosure Scotland will look through Police records both in Scotland and other parts of the UK and issue the applicant with a certificate. The certificate states the applicant name, address, date of birth and then lists any criminal convictions, including the date, nature of the offence, the court at which the offence was dealt with, and the penalty imposed such as a fine or custodial sentence. If there is no record of any criminal convictions, the certificate will state that there is no record.

Spent Convictions

In the UK, not all convictions have to be declared forever. Under the Rehabilitation Of Offenders Act. After a set period of time, some convictions can be ignored. This means that people who commit a minor offence as a youth do not have their past hanging over them for the rest of their life. Convictions can only be “spent” if it is the person’s one and only offence, and when the offence does not concern sexual crimes or crimes of violence. A conviction is “spent” after 5 and a half years if the offender was under 18, or 11 years for older people. Convictions which are “spent” will not appear on a Basic Disclosure certificate, but may appear on other types of Police check certificates. If you are unsure of whether a conviction is spent, you can apply to Police Scotland for a full print out of your criminal record.