Disclosure of convictions

One in three men and one in 10 women in Scotland are likely to have at least one criminal conviction.

The consequences of having to disclose previous offending behaviour for long periods of time can have a substantial impact on people’s ability to get a job, education or volunteering. If we reduce these barriers then we can reduce the risks of reoffending.

We will soon be introducing changes to the disclosure system, to strike a better balance between allowing people to move on from their previous offending behaviour whilst protecting public safety.

Reduced disclosure times for past convictions

Basic disclosure is the most common and lowest level of disclosure available. It includes information on any ‘unspent’ convictions a person has.

Changes to basic disclosure will reduce the length of time most people with convictions have to disclose their offending history.

This will mean people will be able to move on more quickly from previous offending behaviour and contribute to society.

Under the changes, individuals will still have to self-disclose and employers will still be able to consider convictions that are recent and relevant as long as they remain unspent.

The changes to basic disclosure do not affect the system of high level disclosures needed for specific types of work, such as that involving vulnerable people.

Higher level disclosure

The system of higher level self-disclosure has been reformed in recent years, meaning less self-disclosure of spent convictions is required in higher level disclosures.

Disclosure Scotland

Disclosure Scotland helps employers make safer decisions when they're recruiting people. It also makes sure unsuitable people don't work with vulnerable groups, including children. Find out more about Disclosure Scotland.