The issue of the differences between Scotland and England & Wales with regard to disclosure checks has been highlighted by the introduction of changes to s 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998 on 10 March 2015. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was amended last year in England & Wales (but not Scotland), and limited information on spent convictions. Employers got round this by requiring employees to make a data protection subject access request to show spent convictions. This has now been stopped by the changes to s 56.

In Scotland, in contrast, spent convictions are shown on standard and enhanced disclosures, and a further two categories, one of which is enhanced with lists of barred individuals and the other is the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme. The replacement of certain enhanced disclosures by the PVG scheme has led to the law in Scotland having a greater emphasis on public safety than that south of the border, where their top level of disclosure checks (enhanced disclosure with lists of barred individuals) does not meet the level of scrutiny in the PVG scheme.