Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG): For PAs

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. Anyone who wants to work with children or vulnerable adults, will need to have a PVG check and become members of the scheme. This helps ensure that people whose behaviour makes them unsuitable to work with children and protected adults cannot do ‘regulated work’ with these vulnerable groups. PVG is a membership scheme which makes sure its members are allowed to work with children or protected adults.

Personal Assistants and the PVG Scheme

At the moment, a PA Employer can request new PAs to share information held by Disclosure Scotland, by asking for a copy of that information through a PVG check. A PA does not have to agree to this at the moment, but the PA Employer might take this into consideration when they are deciding whether to employ that person as a PA.

How the scheme works

When someone applies to join the PVG Scheme, Disclosure Scotland carries out criminal record checks and shares the results with individuals and organisations. The application process involves gathering criminal record and other relevant information. This can be shared with the employer who is providing regulated work, unless the person applies to have a conviction removed from their PVG Scheme record.

If the information shows the applicant might be unsuitable for regulated work, they’ll be referred for further investigation as part of the ‘consideration process’.


Upcoming changes to the PVG process

A new law was passed in 2020 – the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 – which will come into force in 2024. The new legislation focuses on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, while balancing the need for people with convictions to move on from past convictions and contribute to society. Some of the main changes introduced by the Act are:

  • It will be a legal requirement for those carrying out ‘regulated roles’ with children and protected adults to be a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This will include PAs as well
  • The lifetime PVG scheme membership will end and be replaced with a five year membership period
  • The Act will reduce the number of disclosure levels
  • Disclosure Scotland will have new powers to impose conditions on individuals while they are being considered for listing
  • Applicants will be able to request a review of certain disclosure content from an independent reviewer
  • Those with childhood convictions eligible for review will be able to explain the context of their previous behaviour before any disclosure to a third party is made
  • The Act provides new referral powers for Scotland’s councils and integration joint boards

The Act will reduce the number of disclosures from four main levels (basic, standard, enhanced and PVG) to two (Level 1 and Level 2).

What PA Employers will need to do

When the new law comes into effect, PA Employers will need to ask any potential new PAs to undergo a PVG check at either level 1 or 2. If a new PA is not a member of the PVG scheme they will need to join.

The information that is shared by Disclosure Scotland can only be shared with a ‘regulated body’. This means that the prospective PA will receive a copy of their disclosure as well as an organisation acting on behalf of the PA Employer. This ‘regulated body’ will then have to decide what information in the disclosure received by them is relevant to the PAs employment. They will only be able to share relevant information with the PA employer.

Costs for registration and disclosure checks

Once the new law is fully implemented, all PAs, including self-employed PAs, will need to register with Disclosure Scotland. There is a cost to join the PVG scheme (currently £59).


Next steps

Take a look at the resources available to guide you in more detail.

Part of
Last Updated
27 April 2023
First Published
01 April 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.