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Recruitment and selection: key differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Updating authors: Lynda Macdonald, Annabel Mace and Rachel Tynan, consultant editor (Scotland): Gillian MacLellan, consultant editor (Northern Ireland): Jonathan Simpson

Future developments

Rehabilitation of offenders (Scotland): From 10 March 2014, the rehabilitation periods set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 were reduced in England and Wales. They were not reduced in Scotland (see Rehabilitation periods). However, the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 30 July 2019, sets out reduced rehabilitation periods (referred to as "disclosure periods") for Scotland. The Act also increases the length of the sentence of imprisonment beyond which prior convictions must always be disclosed, from 30 months to 48 months. Disclosure periods for custodial sentences will be calculated as the relevant sentence plus a specified additional period. The additional period will be halved if the individual was under 18 at the time of the conviction. The reduction in disclosure periods for Scotland is due to take effect from 30 November 2020.

Disclosure periods include the following:

Sentence Disclosure period - aged 18 or over Disclosure period - aged under 18
Custodial sentence not exceeding 12 months Term of sentence plus two years Term of sentence plus one year
Custodial sentence exceeding 12 months but not exceeding 30 months Term of sentence plus four years Term of sentence plus two years
Custodial sentence exceeding 30 months but not exceeding 48 months Term of sentence plus six years Term of sentence plus three years
A fine 12 months Six months
A compensation order 12 months Six months
An endorsement made by a court Five years Two years and six months
A sentence of cashiering, discharge with ignominy or dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty's service. 10 years Five years
A sentence of dismissal from Her Majesty's service. Seven years Three years and six months

Exclusion from disclosure checks (Scotland): Certain spent convictions are excluded from higher-level disclosure where 15 or more years have passed since the date of the conviction (seven years and six months or more where the individual was under 18 when convicted) (see Exclusion from disclosure checks). Provisions in the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020, which received Royal Assent on 14 July 2020, will, when commenced, reduce the period so that certain spent convictions will be excluded from higher-level disclosure where 11 or more years have passed since the date of the conviction (five years and six months or more where the individual was under 18 when convicted). The reduced periods will be equivalent to those that already apply in the rest of the UK.

The Act will also reduce the number of main disclosure levels from four (basic, standard, enhanced and Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme) to two (level one and level two).

PVG scheme (Scotland): As well as making it an offence for an individual to work, or apply to work, in a regulated role with children and/or adults if they are not a member of the PVG scheme, provisions in the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020, when commenced, will make it an offence for an organisation to offer a regulated role to an individual without first receiving confirmation from Disclosure Scotland that the individual is a member of the scheme.