The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme
The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme is a membership scheme for people who do regulated work with children and vulnerable adults.
It is managed by Disclosure Scotland and membership lasts for life.
What is the PVG scheme
The PVG scheme ensures you’re suitable to work with vulnerable groups.
Background checks under the PVG scheme will be part of the assessment of your suitability when applying for a job or volunteering opportunity.
When you apply to join the PVG scheme, Disclosure Scotland carries out criminal record checks and shares the results with individuals and organisations.
Once you are a member, your criminal record is monitored for any new vetting information.
If you commit an offence that brings into question your suitability to work with vulnerable groups, Disclosure Scotland will be notified and you might be barred from the scheme.
Types of PVG disclosure record
There are 4 different types of PVG disclosure record you can get:
- Scheme Record - if you want to join the PVG scheme to do regulated work
- Existing Scheme Record - if you’re a PVG scheme member and you want to work with a different vulnerable group
- Scheme Record Update - if you’re a PVG scheme member joining a new organisation but working with the same vulnerable group
- Scheme Membership Statement - if you're self-employed doing regulated work or you're employing someone to do regulated work, like if you employ a personal care assistant.
If you want to check the type of PVG disclosure record you need, you can contact Disclosure Scotland.
If you have a Scheme Record or Existing Scheme Record
Your Scheme Record or Existing Scheme Record includes vetting information.
It will show any unspent convictions, spent convictions for certain offences, unspent cautions and whether you are on the sex offender’s register.
How to apply to join the PVG scheme
If you’ll be doing regulated work with vulnerable groups your employer might ask you to join the PVG scheme.
They will need to start the application online. You’ll then be sent the second part by email to complete.
There is a fee to join the scheme. Your employer will tell you if they will pay this fee or if you need to pay it.
You can find out more about applying to join the PVG scheme on mygov.scot.
If you're self-employed
If you’re self-employed and involved in regulated work, it might be best to become a PVG scheme member.
If you want to check if you should join the PVG scheme for the type of work you do, you can contact Disclosure Scotland.
If you're refused membership of the PVG scheme
When Disclosure Scotland checks your criminal record and you have a conviction which bars you from regulated work, you won’t be able to join the PVG scheme.
The organisation or employer will then be written to by Disclosure Scotland to tell them you cannot be a member of the PVG scheme. They will not be told the reason why.
There is more information about disputing Disclosure Scotland decisions on mygov.scot.
Work that is covered by the PVG scheme
The PVG scheme applies to regulated work. There are 2 types of regulated work, work with children and work with protected adults.
Regulated work is usually jobs that involve:
- caring responsibilities
- teaching or supervising children or protected adults
- providing personal services to children or protected adults
- working directly with children or protected adults.
If you’re not sure if the work will be regulated work, you should ask your employer or the organisation you volunteer for.
Being barred from regulated work
There are 2 lists of people barred from working with vulnerable groups:
- a list for those barred from working with children
- a list for those barred from working with protected adults.
Being on either of these lists is known as being 'listed'.
You can be barred from working with 1 of the vulnerable groups but not the other.
If you’re on a list, then you’re not eligible for PVG scheme membership for that type of work. If you were a PVG scheme member before being listed, your membership will end for that type of work.
It is a criminal offence to do regulated work with the vulnerable groups you’re listed for.
If you're barred elsewhere in the UK
You are automatically barred in Scotland if you’re barred by:
- the Disclosure and Barring Service in England and Wales
- Access NI in Northern Ireland.
This is also the same in reverse. If you are barred in Scotland then you are automatically barred elsewhere in the UK.