Disclosure and Barring Service: England vs Scotland

20th Jun 2023

The Disclosure and Barring Service (if you are in England and Wales) or the Disclosure Service (if you are in Scotland), previously known as CRB checks function slightly differently depending where you live.

DBS checks

So what are the key differences between the English Disclosure and Barring Service and the Scottish Disclosure?

DBS checks

Can you use an English DBS check in Scotland and a Scottish Disclosure in England?

To work in England or Wales you must hold a valid DBS check from England & Wales.

To work in Scotland, you must hold a valid Scottish Disclosure certificate.

Although you can apply for an English/Welsh DBS check if you live in Scotland, it is only valid for work in England & Wales.

If you work in Scotland but live in England or Wales, you need to hold a Scottish Disclosure check.

You cannot transfer either across to either country nor are they valid unless used in the country they belong to.


disclosure Scotland

Scottish Disclosure

In Scotland you can obtain 4 levels of disclosure certificate

The type of check you need depends on the work role or volunteering you are carrying out.

Basic, Standard, Enhanced, PVG – Protecting vulnerable groups scheme

Basic disclosure

Anyone can apply for one, even for yourself, making it the lowest level of disclosure available and one that is most applied for.

It contains information of any 'unspent' convictions you have.

Spent convictions do not reflect on a basic disclosure.

Spent convictions are conviction which no longer show due to the time lapsed since conviction.

Basic disclosures applications are processed under Scottish laws. In particular, under the Rehabilitation periods for particular sentences section of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The certificate is only valid when it's processed without a specific length of time and as a result it is not monitored by Disclosure Scotland.

Standard and Enhanced disclosure

Standard and enhanced disclosures involve higher levels of checks to be completed.

They are required for people in certain work roles or looking to adopt. These are applied for via an employer or registered body, depending on the job role applied for depends on which is required.

  • standard disclosures are required for specific roles such as: working in care services, accountants, or solicitors.
  • enhanced disclosureapplies to specific work roles such as: applying for certain gaming or lottery licences or for checking people are suitable for adoption.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

The PVG is for people undertaking regulated work with protected adults and/or children.

A PVG certificate contains all unspent and certain spent convictions. It also contains any other non-conviction information that either the police or other government bodies think is relevant to be known.

PVG scheme members' records are continually monitored by Disclosure Scotland for any vetting information that may change or arise and affect their suitability to work with the vulnerable groups. This includes any criminal convictions.

You cannot apply for a PVG yourself; an organisation offering regulated work must do this on your behalf.


English/Welsh DBS

In England there are 3 levels of DBS checks carried out.

The type of check you need depends on the work role or volunteering you are carrying out.

Basic, Standard, Enhanced

Basic DBS checks can be obtained by a company or the individual themselves, whereas Standard and Enhanced DBS checks can only be applied for by an organisation and not by the individual.

Which level you require depends on the role being filled.

Basic DBS

A basic DBS shows any unspent convictions and conditional cautions.

Standard DBS

Standard DBS checks show spent and unspent convictions and adult cautions, from the Police National Computer which have not been filtered in line with legislation.

Enhanced DBS

Enhanced DBS checks shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role being applied for.




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