The Scottish Government introduced the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme on 28 February 2011. From this date anyone seeking work with children or protected adults has to apply to join the Scheme in order to be eligible to take up a post either in a paid or voluntary capacity. Some students on Postgraduate Taught Programmes and Postgraduate Research Programmes may be required to join the PVG scheme.
Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) – Disclosure Scotland
The Scottish Government introduced the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme on 28 February 2011. From this date anyone seeking work with children or protected adults has to apply to join the Scheme in order to be eligible to take up a post either in a paid or voluntary capacity. Applications for PVG Scheme membership are processed and assessed by Disclosure Scotland who provides this service as a means of enhancing security, public safety and protecting the vulnerable in society.
Some students on Postgraduate Taught Programmes and Postgraduate Research Programmes may be required to join the PVG scheme.
How to determine whether you require PVG scheme membership:
- To require PVG scheme membership the individual must be doing ’regulated’ work with Children/and or protected adults. It is against the law to request PVG scheme membership if the role the individual will be employed in does not fall into the definition above.
- There are five steps to assessing whether an individual is doing regulated work. Disclosure Scotland has set up a useful assessment tool using these five steps which guides you in detail through each step.
- Regulated work involves caring for, or supervising, individuals participating in any organised activity. There are 2 types of regulated work: regulated work with Children & regulated work with protected adults. The reason for having two types of regulated work, and two corresponding lists of individuals who are unsuitable to do such work, is to allow for the fact that unsuitability to work with one group does not always go hand in hand with unsuitability to work with the other.
- ‘Children’ are all people under the age of 18
- ‘Protected adults’ are individuals aged 16 or over who are provided with (and thus receive) a type of care, support or welfare service. It is a service based definition and avoids labelling adults on the basis of disability. A person will be a protected adult for the duration that they are receiving the service. Therefore some adults will be protected most of the time (e.g. residents within a care home) whereas others will only be protected for short periods (e.g. whilst receiving medical treatment at a hospital)
“Normal” Duties & the Incidental Rule
- The work must also be part of an individual’s “normal” duties and not be incidental. The concept of normal duties is extremely important in limiting the scope of regulated work.
- Normal duties can be considered as something the individual might be expected to do as part of their post on an ongoing basis, for example appearing in a job description. Normal duties exclude one-off occurrences and unforeseeable events. It should be noted that even activities performed once a year could still be considered ‘normal’ duties – they do not need to necessarily be frequently performed normal duties
- If the contact with children or protected adults is incidental and not part of the person’s normal duties, they do not require PVG scheme membership.
Students should only apply for PVG membership when they know where their placement or research will take place and if it will require regulated work in terms of children or protected adults or both. This should be discussed with their Programme Director, their PG Supervisor or the School Ethics Committee.
You can request an application form from email@example.com and then complete and return the PVG form to the PG Office, College of Humanities and Social Science, George Square with 3 pieces of original ID:
- Birth certificate
- Driving Licence
- National ID card
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
(Please note you cannot apply online for PVG membership)
If you would prefer, you can bring these documents in person and these can be checked whilst you wait. The cost for joining the scheme is currently £59 which you will be required to pay. This is standard practice for University students joining the PVG.
If you are already an existing member of this scheme you should complete an Existing Scheme Member application form (which can be obtained from the PG office – please contact to request one) and confirm whether your current membership relates to work with children, protected adults or both. The cost for the Existing Scheme member update is £18.
Your PVG application form will be signed by a counter-signatory (a member of University of Edinburgh staff) who signs the application on behalf of the University.
The PVG check will normally take around 2-4 weeks to be processed. The PVG certificate will be posted by Disclosure Scotland to your address and a copy will be sent to the counter-signatory in the University.
If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org