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Disclosure (Scotland) Bill


This Bill aims to simplify the process for disclosing criminal history information about people.

It proposes changes to whether and how certain offences are disclosed. An example of this is offences committed when a person was under 18.

It also proposes new appeal processes for which convictions are disclosed.

It would also make changes to protection of vulnerable groups (PVG) checks.

The Bill would mean that anyone who wants to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults would have to be a member of the PVG scheme. It would be against the law for employers and individuals not to do this.

You can find out more in the Scottish Government document that explains the bill.

Why the Bill was created

People and employers applying for disclosures and criminal record checks can find the processes complicated. This Bill aims to simplify these processes.

The Scottish Government wants to find the right balance between protecting the public and allowing people to move on from offending.

You can find out more in the Scottish Government document that explains the bill.

The Bill at different stages

'Bills' are proposed laws. Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) discuss them to decide if they should become law.

Here are the different versions of the Bill:

The Bill as introduced

Disclosure (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Government sends the Bill and the related documents to the Scottish Parliament.

Bill is at ScottishParliament.SC.Feature.BillComponents.Models.BillStageModel?.DefaultBillStage?.Stage_Name stage.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Government Bills

These are Bills that have been introduced by the Scottish Government. They are sometimes called 'Executive Bills'.

Most of the laws that the Scottish Parliament looks at are Government Bills.

Hybrid Bills

These Bills are suggested by the Scottish Government.

As well as having an impact on a general law, they could also have an impact on organisations' or the public's private interests.

The first Hybrid Bill was the Forth Crossing Bill.

Members' Bill

These are Bills suggested by MSPs. Every MSP can try to get 2 laws passed in the time between elections. This 5-year period is called a 'parliamentary session'.

To do this, they need other MSPs from different political parties to support their Bills.

Committee Bills

These are Bills suggested by a group of MSPs called a committee.

These are Public Bills because they will change general law.

Private Bills

These are Bills suggested by a person, group or company. They usually:

  • add to an existing law
  • change an existing law

A committee would be created to work on a Private Bill.

Bill stage timeline

The Disclosure (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1.


The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Disclosure (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Related information from the Scottish Government on the Bill

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

You can share your views on this Bill. The deadline for submissions is 30 August 2019. 

Committees involved in this Bill

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force
  • give details of how a law will be applied
  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).