Protection of vulnerable groups and the disclosure of criminal information: our response to consultation

Scottish Government response to the consultation report on the Protection of Vulnerable Groups and Disclosure of Criminal Information.

Chapter 1 – Background

1.1 Pre-consultation engagement

It has been eight years since the PVG Scheme commenced and over ten years since the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 ("the PVG Act") passed through the Scottish Parliament. During this time, Disclosure Scotland has listened to a wide range of stakeholders and customers to identify the issues with the current disclosure system and the areas where it can be made fairer, more efficient or simply better at protecting people from harm.

In 2015, Disclosure Scotland's extensive customer research revealed that many respondents were confused about what being in the PVG Scheme meant, were unclear that it was possible to leave it, and did not know that Disclosure Scotland monitored police systems for new information about them, raising the possibility that this might lead to barring from working with vulnerable groups, even though they might not have done such work for many years.

This public consultation reviewed the purpose of disclosure in Scotland, the efficacy of current legislation and its practical delivery to determine whether it still fits the current landscape. It looked at whether digital technology can deliver an even more assured and customer-focused PVG Scheme to better serve individuals, businesses and volunteering organisations alike.

The consultation responses validated pre-consultation work which confirmed how publically valued the PVG Scheme is but also highlighted too much complexity in the disclosure system as a key problem.

1.2 Consultation process and responses

The Scottish Government would like to thank all individuals and organisations who took the time to consider and respond to the proposals contained in the consultation on the Protection of Vulnerable Groups and the Disclosure of Criminal Information in Scotland, especially as this was a lengthy and complex document. The Scottish Government would also like to thank those individuals and organisations that attended one of our 36 engagement events during the consultation period.

On April 2018, following extensive pre‑consultation engagement between January and August 2017 with over 300 individuals and organisations, and an online survey generating over 800 responses, Disclosure Scotland published the consultation paper. This was distributed widely to stakeholders, including over 3,000 registered bodies using higher level disclosures. We received 353 responses, 269 from organisations and 84 from individuals. We had responses from a range of stakeholders including judicial bodies, the legal sector, local government, voluntary organisations, the health sector and individual scheme members.

Two hundred and forty‑five respondents gave permission for their response to be published on the Citizen Space website at



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