Disclosure Policy

Introduction

Part V of the Police Act 1997 is aimed at helping employers assess the suitability of applicants for particular posts and to make safer recruitment decisions in relation to positions of trust by widening access to criminal record information. To this end, the Act provides for the issue of criminal conviction certificates, criminal record certificates and enhanced criminal record certificates, known as Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosures.

A Code of Practice has been issued by Ministers covering the use and handling of Disclosure Information. The Code requires that such information is used properly and fairly and that Disclosure Information must not be used to unfairly discriminate against individuals when considering them for positions. Employers requesting disclosure information must have a written policy on its use, which is made available to individuals where a Disclosure is requested.

Scope

This Policy applies to recruitment and employment to all posts with the Moray Council. It also applies to certain voluntary positions and other roles within the Council which are positions of trust with access to vulnerable adults or young people.

The Policy applies to all officers of the Council who have access to Disclosure Information.

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Purpose

The purpose of the Policy is:

  • To assist the Council in protecting the vulnerable by making safer recruitment and employment decisions;
  • To ensure that Disclosure Information is used properly and fairly;
  • To provide assurance to those applying for Standard and Enhanced Disclosures that the information will be used properly and fairly;
  • To ensure that Disclosure Information is handled and stored and disposed of appropriately.

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Basis For Requesting a Disclosure

The Council will seek Standard or Enhanced Disclosures where this is considered proportionate and relevant to the particular position. This will be based on a risk assessment of the position, based on the likelihood and consequences of the risk. Appendix 1 sets out an assessment of current posts and criteria for the assessment of future posts.

In general, the Council will seek a Disclosure where there is access to vulnerable adults or young people through the appointment or where the post is in a position of trust as defined in the Act. These are appointments in respect of which the Council would wish to ask exempt questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA).

Where a Disclosure is deemed necessary for a position, it will be made clear in all relevant documentation that a Disclosure will be requested in the event that an individual is made a conditional offer of the position.

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Recruitment of Ex-Offenders

Where a disclosure is to form part of the recruitment process, the Council will ask all applicants selected for interview to provide details of their criminal record prior to interview. This will use a Standard Form (Appendix 2) and will be sent under separate confidential cover to a designated person. This information will only be seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.

In line with the ROA, we will only ask about convictions which are defined as "unspent" in terms of the Act unless the nature of the position is such that we are entitled to ask questions about an individual’s entire criminal record.

Frequency of Disclosure Requests

Disclosure requests will normally be made only when an individual applies for a position with the Council, regardless of whether this is a first or subsequent appointment. Where a disclosure has been requested for a job which is substantially similar within the previous 6 months, a further disclosure may not be required. This will be assessed on a case by case basis, depending upon the assessed level of risk.

Disclosure Requests for Second Jobs

If an individual is appointed to a second position with the Council, a separate disclosure will be sought where the position different from the previous one as disclosure information is related to each appointment.

Use of Information

 

The Council will use Disclosure Information Fairly:

  • Information will be used only for purposes for which it has been provided, permission for any other use will be sought from the subject e.g. notification to a relevant third party.
  • Recipients of Information will have regard to any guidance issued by Disclosure Scotland on the use of the information.
  • The Council will not unfairly discriminate against the subject on the basis of any conviction or other details revealed.
  • Where disclosure information raises concerns about an individual’s suitability to undertake a position, the council may withdraw an offer of appointment. The individual will be advised of the reason for the withdrawal.

 

The Council will handle Disclosure Information Carefully:

  • Information will not be disclosed in contravention of the Police Act, either to the subject or to another party. It is recognised that this is a criminal offence.
  • Access to Information will be restricted to those who need to have it in the course of their duties.
  • Disclosures and the information they contain will be stored securely during the period they need to be retained.
  • Disclosures will be retained only for the period required for the purpose for which they were obtained and normally no longer than 6 months, unless in exceptional circumstances agreed by the Head of Personnel Services.
  • Disclosures will be disposed of securely, normally by shredding.
  • The Council will keep a record of the date of issue of the Disclosure, the name of the subject, the Disclosure type, the position for which it was requested, the unique reference number of the Disclosure and details of the recruitment decision taken.

Definitions

Basic Disclosure: These are the lowest level of disclosure and will be available to any individual who applies. They show details of all convictions considered to be unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) or state that there are no such convictions. These disclosures will not be job specific or job related and can be used for any purpose. It will be for the individual to decide whether to show the basic disclosure to an employer or any other person.

Standard Disclosure These are available for those applying for positions listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions) Order 1975. The main categories of occupation eligible for this disclosure are those whose duties will involve regular contact with children and young people under the age of eighteen; elderly sick or disabled people; those checked in the interests of national security; people involved in the administration of law; firearms, explosives and gaming licences; professional groups in health, pharmacy and law; and senior managers in banking and financial services. A standard disclosure includes details of all convictions on record, whether spent or unspent, and under the ROA. This means that even minor convictions will be included on the disclosure, no matter when they occurred. The disclosure is provided to the individual and to the Registered Person countersigning the request (i.e. the employer).

Enhanced Disclosure: The highest level of disclosure, available for positions for which the duties involve a greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults. Enhanced disclosures include all the details contained in a standard disclosure, but may also contain non-conviction information held locally by the police where it is considered relevant to the post or voluntary work being sought. The disclosure is provided to the individual and the Registered Person. Additional information may also be provided to the Registered Person.

Disclosure Information: Generic term used to refer to information contained in any of the above levels of Disclosure .

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