There are lots of different circumstances under which you might be asked to produce a Disclosure certificate. Disclosure is the name given to the process of having your criminal record checked before applying for a job or voluntary position in Scotland. In England, the very similar process is called a DBS check. There are many, many reasons why someone may apply for one of the different types of Disclosure certificate, but here are the most common.

In Support of a Visa Application

Often, people who want to make their permanent residence in the UK, or want to apply for a visa extension after being admitted on a tourist of student visa have to submit a Basic Disclosure in support of their application, to show that they are of good character, and unlikely to cause problems for the Police if allowed to stay in the UK. This type of Disclosure certificate will show criminal convictions, unless the matter was very minor and happened a long time in the past.

People working in the Law

The legislation states the needs for people employed in the administration of the law needing a standard Disclosure check. This covers people working as lawyers or barristers in court and may cover some other legal professions too. People applying for roles in this field will be told when applying whether they need a disclosure check to be carried out or not. It will depend on the type of the role whether the checks are carried out, and even if their disclosure checks throw up something from their distant past, this may not automatically bar the applicant from being given the job.

Applying to Adopt or Foster

Part of the standard process of being approved as a prospective adoptive parent or foster carer is lengthy checks on your background, which involves an enhanced disclosure check. This check is one of the more detailed types of check, and will show all cautions and convictions, irrespective of how long ago they happened. It will also show any information which the Police hold on file which did not result in a conviction or caution, but which is believed to be relevant.

Working with Vulnerable Groups

One of the largest groups of people who need to be checked are those who are working with “vulnerable groups”, usually defined as children, adults with special needs, or patients in hospitals or care homes. This type of disclosure certificate is different as it is managed through the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme, or PVG. The process for applying for a PVG check is very similar, the difference being that PVG holders are on a live database, meaning that their employer is notified should something come to light after their initial certificate is issued.

Proving Right to Work

The one thing any type of disclosure certificate doesn’t do is confirm that you have the right to live or work in the UK. It is purely a criminal records check, and employers must have their own systems in place to ensure the people they are employing are in the UK legally.