Date lodged: 24 April 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what standard timescales there are for the disclosure of criminal convictions on a Disclosure Scotland PVG certificate and whether any such timescales vary depending upon the nature of the crime committed.
Answered by: Maree Todd 8 May 2019
The length of time that information about a criminal conviction is disclosed on the PVG scheme record is provided for in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 as amended by The Police Act 1997 and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 Remedial (No. 2) Order 2015 (“the 2015 Remedial Order”) (Scottish Statutory Instrument 2015 No 423).
Currently, a PVG scheme record will contain information about any unspent conviction recorded about an individual. The position regarding spent convictions (as determined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) is different; the reforms made by the 2015 Remedial Order ended the practice of disclosing all spent convictions the PVG scheme record indefinitely. This means that a conviction for many offences is no longer disclosed on the PVG scheme record once the conviction becomes spent. With regard to convictions for other offences, two lists were created. The effect is that a spent conviction for an offence set out in schedule 8A of the Police Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”) must be disclosed unless a sheriff orders otherwise, and that a spent conviction for an offence set out in schedule 8B of the 1997 Act is disclosed subject to rules.
The rules are that a spent conviction for an offence on schedule 8B will appear on a higher level disclosure for:
- 15 years, if 18 or over at the date of conviction;
- 7 years and 6 months, if under 18 at the date of conviction.
Where a spent conviction for an offence on schedule 8B is present in the PVG scheme record, an individual can apply to have it removed from the higher level disclosure if they think it is not relevant to the purpose for which the disclosure was requested. This application is made to the sheriff, Disclosure Scotland cannot make the decision on removing a conviction.
Where there is a spent conviction for an offence on schedule 8A (which includes serious offences such as rape and other sexual offences, assault to severe injury, and certain terrorism and firearms offences), the law about when an individual is able to make an application to a sheriff is different. Schedule 8A offences must be disclosed for 15 years (or 7 years and 6 months if under 18 on date of conviction) before the individual can apply to the sheriff.
Further details on the process of making an application to a sheriff can be found on Disclosure Scotland’s website at https://www.mygov.scot/convictions-higher-disclosures/ .