Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 - accredited body fees and discounting proposals: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Draft children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment in relation to Disclosure Scotland’s consultation on accredited body fees and proposals for discounting under the PVG scheme.


Disclosure Scotland is consulting on options on its future approach to the discounting or waiver of Level 2 with PVG disclosures under the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

The Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 (the Disclosure Act) introduces new types of disclosure. The Disclosure Act will also make the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme mandatory, and the lifetime PVG scheme membership will end and be replaced with a five-year membership period. This means the Scottish Government needs to lay new regulations on fees payable for each type of disclosure and registering as an accredited body.

Disclosure Scotland's fees and fee structure have not changed since 2011. This is the longest period disclosure fees in Scotland have been frozen. The Public Sector Finance Manual sets out that fees should be set at full cost recovery. This means there will be limited scope to adjust the fee levels proposed.

However, the Scottish Government is also considering several other factors, including:

  • the ability of customers to pay for disclosures they need
  • where efficiencies can be made at Disclosure Scotland
  • what models best supports the transition to the new time-limited Scheme
  • the level of central subsidy which can be provided

Work is still ongoing to scope what fee model and levels can most appropriately balance the above duties when setting fees.

Disclosure Scotland is consulting on three main proposals around Level 2 PVG fee discounting for under any changes to fee modelling and levels:

  • moving from a fee waiver to fee discount for volunteers in Qualifying Voluntary Organisations (QVOs)
  • introducing a fee discount for people in receipt of certain benefits
  • introducing a fee discount for care experienced children and young people aged 16 to 25 years old.

Volunteers (Qualifying Voluntary Organisations waiver)

There is currently a fee waiver for PVG Scheme disclosures for those doing regulated work in a voluntary and unpaid capacity for a Qualifying Voluntary Organisation (QVO).

The Scottish Government recognises the immense value volunteers bring to the Scottish economy and life and will continue to subsidise disclosures for volunteers with QVOs. However, with the ongoing pressure on household finances across UK, we are looking at how to provide a broader package of support to households on low incomes. This broader support will only be achievable if costs can be balanced.

The proposal is to move to a fee discount for volunteers doing regulated roles in QVOs. The suggested discount would be a 60% reduction of the full fee-payment. For example, for the current £59 fee this would be £24 for a volunteer. This would bring in an estimated £745,704 to contribute towards the sustainability of discounting under the PVG Scheme. Another price point example would be a £70 PVG Scheme join fee would be £28. This would bring an estimated £869,988 towards supporting discounting under the PVG Scheme.

People in receipt of certain benefits

Disclosure Scotland has not previously taken an income-based approach to setting fees. However, with an increase in fees likely required to assist with cost recovery, we are exploring the feasibility of offering discounting for people who would be most affected by any increase.

Disclosure Scotland is considering providing a discount based on the individual being in receipt of certain benefits. The benefits suggested for eligibility to the proposed fee discount would be:

  • income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • universal credit
  • personal independence payment under Part 4 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • adult disability payment within the meaning given in regulation 2 of the Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations 2022

Disclosure Scotland's proposal is to provide a 50% fee reduction for people in receipt of these benefits. For example, for a £59 fee this would be £29, or for a £70 fee this would be £35. This approach would set the fee below what individuals are currently paying for their PVG level disclosures. It is set higher than the proposed discount for volunteers as this is a new policy which is difficult to assess the uptake of in advance. Disclosure Scotland would keep the effectiveness and uptake of this discount under review to establish whether it is helping those it is intended to.

Care experienced young people

Scottish Government research has found that young people who were looked after are consistently less likely than school leavers generally to be in positive destinations one year after leaving school.

Additional costs to access employment or training opportunities can be a significant barrier to already disadvantaged groups in seeking and obtaining work. Past engagement with care-experienced young people also found that some young people self-excluded from roles which require higher level disclosure due to uncertainty over whether interaction with the youth justice system might remain on their record. Reforms under the Disclosure Act will provide them more certainty over what a disclosure will show before it is received by an employer. However, there may still be a reluctance to apply for a role and access their new rights to review under the disclosure system if they feel they may need to withdraw after paying the initial fee.

Disclosure Scotland is considering two versions of this proposal, one based in the existing statutory council tax exemption and one based on the Student Awards Agency Bursary.

Option 1: Disclosure Scotland is considering providing a fee discount of 50% to care experienced young people. For example, the £70 PVG Scheme join fee would be £35. In this proposal, Disclosure Scotland propose defining a care experienced young person as a person who:

  • is over 16 years of age and under 26 years of age,
  • has been looked after by a local authority at any time from their sixteenth birthday onwards, and
  • is no longer looked after by a local authority.

Disclosure Scotland will require the applicant to provide confirmation from a local authority, who can confirm the applicant's circumstances, to establish eligibility for the care experienced fee discount. This option has narrower eligibility than Option 2 on the basis that a care experienced young person in this position is even more vulnerable to financial hardship due to lack of familial support and upheaval in later childhood than a broader cohort and therefore at a minimum targeted support should be made available to this group.

Option 2: Disclosure Scotland is considering providing a fee discount of 50% for care experienced young people. For example, the £70 PVG Scheme join fee would be £35. For this option, eligibility would mirror the criteria for the Care Experience Student Bursary meaning the young person must be aged between 16 to 25 years and have been looked after under one of the following arrangements:

  • foster care,
  • kinship care (arranged by a local authority),
  • kinship care (although not arranged by local authority, the young person must have had engagement/contact with local authority or social work contact during the arrangement),
  • looked after at home or looked after away from home under a Compulsory Supervision Order
  • residential care.

Disclosure Scotland will require an applicant seeking to benefit from the fee discount to provide confirmation from an appropriate professional person that can confirm their circumstances to establish eligibility for the discount. In relation to Option 2, a SAAS award letter could also be used as evidence. This option has a broader eligibility than Option 1 (and includes those in Option 1), recognising that care experience is a lifelong issue, affecting those who were in care at any age, and that a wider support package would bring more benefits to care experienced young people. It would also streamline the process for any young people also applying for the SAAS award, permitting them to use the same evidence or their award letter for both systems.


Email: disclosureact@disclosurescotland.gov.scot

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