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.

Reduced disclosure times for past convictions

Changes to the disclosure system made under Part 2 of the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2019 came into force on 30 November 2020.

The reforms reduce the length of time that many convictions need to be disclosed for most job applicants and in other cases such as applying for insurance.

These changes were introduced to strike a better balance between allowing people to move on from their their previous offending behaviour and to contribute to society, whilst still protecting public safety. 

The reforms apply to basic disclosure. This is the most common and lowest level of disclosure available. It includes information on any ‘unspent’ convictions a person has.  Under the reforms individuals will still have to self-disclose and employers will still be able to consider convictions that are relevant if they remain unspent.

We have published detailed information on how the changes may apply to you or your organisation: 

The changes  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.