Business Plan 2010-11
DISCLOSURE SCOTLAND BUSINESS PLAN 2010-11
2. Disclosure Scotland’s Business and Contribution to National Outcomes.
3. Changes and Achievements in 2009-10.
4. Key Business in 2010-11 Aligned to National Outcomes.
6. Table of Key Activities in 2010-11.
Annex 1: Current Functions of Disclosure Scotland.
Annex 2: Our relationships – Partnership Activity and Key Stakeholders.
The coming year, 2010-11, will be a very challenging year for Disclosure Scotland. This is, in part, due to the preparation required for the implementation of the new Protection for Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme - planned towards the end of the 2010 calendar year - which will help to strengthen the contribution that Disclosure Scotland makes towards the Scottish Government’s Safer and Stronger strategic objective.
PVG requires the implementation of a new IT system, spanning both the new PVG scheme membership detail and the remaining Police Act disclosures; new interfaces with Disclosure Scotland’s main police data suppliers; re-training of staff; new guidance for
Disclosure Scotland’s stakeholders on how the PVG scheme impacts upon them; and the establishment of a Protection Unit at Disclosure Scotland that will consider people who may be unsuitable for working in the PVG regulated workforces.
Disclosure Scotland is aiming to bring in the PVG system while at the same time operating the current disclosure system up to the date at which PVG goes live. It is seeking to maintain its public performance target of providing 90 per cent of disclosures within 14 days of receiving fully completed applications, while simultaneously planning and implementing a large scale re-organisation of its business. The planned activity is outlined in this Business Plan.
In addition, Disclosure Scotland is seeking to continue a programme of organisational development that will continue to embed its status as an Agency of the Scottish Government. It made considerable progress in the last financial year, and the next will help to further lay the basic foundations for the organisation in the coming years.
In many of its strategic activities over 2010-11, Disclosure Scotland will be advised and guided by its new Strategic Board. This is the top level Board for the organisation, established in February 2010 to help oversee the strategic direction of the organisation, consistent with the policy parameters set by Scottish Ministers. Details of the Board are contained within the Plan.
Comments on the Plan can be sent to:
PO Box 250
Glasgow G51 1YU
2. DISCLOSURE SCOTLAND’S BUSINESS AND CONTRIBUTION TO
Who we are
Disclosure Scotland was established by Part V of the Police Act 1997 in April 2002 to
provide basic, standard and enhanced disclosure certificates (see Annex 1) on behalf of
Scottish Ministers. The service is provided in partnership with British Telecom plc (BT). It
was initially administered by the then Scottish Criminal Records Office, which was a police
organisation, and all non BT staff were employed by the Strathclyde Joint Police Board.
Disclosure Scotland became an Executive Agency on 1 April 2009; all staff previously
employed by the Strathclyde Joint Police Board are now employed by Scottish Government.
Disclosure Scotland’s Chief Executive is the Accountable Officer for the Agency and is directly accountable to Scottish Ministers. All of the key relationships - both to Ministers and
to the Director General for Education in the Scottish Government - are described in
Disclosure Scotland’s Framework Document.
Our vision and aims
Disclosure Scotland’s vision is to help make Scotland’s communities safer and stronger, a
key strategic objective of the Scottish Government. Its strategic aim is to inform recruitment
decisions through the timely provision of accurate criminal history information and, as part of
that, to help protect vulnerable groups by preventing unsuitable people from working with
Disclosure Scotland provides a service to a large proportion of the public sector as well as a
wide range of private sector organisations and individuals. The total number of applications
handled is approaching 950,000 in a year.
In delivering for customers Disclosure Scotland has the following key organisational aims:
? It seeks to have a customer-focus: A range of relationships are maintained with
customers. Some of Disclosure Scotland’s larger customers are seeking the electronic
exchange of information to streamline the processing of large volumes of applications,
which is already in place for one large customer. For some of the smaller
organisations, it is important to provide additional support and advice. This is done in
particular with the voluntary sector through the Central Registered Body Scotland
(CRBS). A full outline of Disclosure Scotland’s key external relationships is shown
in Annex 2.
? It seeks to generate user confidence: Disclosure Scotland recognises the key
determinants of user confidence: that it has effective quality assurance processes in
place and holds information securely; that disclosures are issued in a timely manner;
and that the IT system provided by BT is fit for purpose and as reliable as possible.
? It seeks to be an efficient and effective organisation: Disclosure Scotland operates
to a public performance target (see Chapter 3) which directs its operational activities.
It also provides its service at a cost per disclosure that compares well with other UK
disclosure services. Disclosure Scotland aims to promote a culture of efficiency and a
capacity to adapt well to change.
Our contribution to Scottish Government’s National Outcomes
As part of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, there are 5 strategic objectives – a wealthier and fairer Scotland; a smarter Scotland; a healthier Scotland; a safer
and stronger Scotland; and a greener Scotland. Disclosure Scotland’s principal contribution
is to a safer and stronger Scotland, while making some contribution to other of the strategic
Within the National Performance Framework, there are 15 National Outcomes that the Scottish Government wants all public services to promote. In carrying out its strategic aim,
Disclosure Scotland contributes principally to the National Outcomes as shown in the Box.
We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk
Disclosure Scotland makes a contribution to improved life chances by reducing potential risks to
both children and protected adults that may arise in a work setting.
We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger
Through the provision of information to a range of employers, Disclosure Scotland helps to ensure
that employers employing people in positions of trust have access to criminal history information
where it exists.
Our public services are high quality, continually improving and responsive to local people’s
Performance overall is already good in terms of speed, cost and accuracy. Improvements to the organisation will be brought about by the introduction of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 - (PVG (Scotland) Act 2007), which will provide further opportunities to
enhance existing services.
We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production
Changes introduced both as part of the implementation of the PVG (Scotland) Act 2007 and as part of other initiatives should help to reduce Disclosure Scotland’s environmental impact.
Developing our service in 2010-11
Enhanced disclosures for work with children or protected adults are due to be replaced by
PVG Scheme membership under the provisions of the PVG (Scotland) Act 2007.
People who work with vulnerable groups will join the PVG Scheme and their membership
records will be updated automatically with any new conviction and non-conviction
information over time. While in the vast majority of cases there will be no new information
that is relevant, the automatic updating of information will help to ensure that any new
relevant information indicating that an individual might pose a risk to vulnerable groups can
be acted upon promptly.
The new Scheme will be easier to use for organisations recruiting people working with
vulnerable groups. It will reduce the need for people to complete a detailed application form
every time their circumstances change, as currently takes place with enhanced disclosures for
such work. Once an individual is a Scheme member, organisations and groups recruiting
people will, as a result, be able to do a quicker check to verify that a person is a Scheme
The PVG Scheme will also strengthen protection for vulnerable groups in instances where
people are employed on a personal basis. Personal employers – such as a parent who
employs a sports coach for their child or a person employing a personal carer – will be able to
check that a person is a Scheme member.
The PVG Scheme will, in addition, improve protection for adults as there will be a list of
those who are barred from working with protected adults. This will complement the list
already in operation for those who are barred from working with children.
3. CHANGES AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2009-10
This chapter sets out key changes and achievements in 2009-10 in terms of the 4 objectives
that underpin Disclosure Scotland’s activity: meeting its public performance target;
improving operations; embedding as an Executive Agency and improving the organisation;
and preparing for and delivering the PVG Scheme.
Public performance target
Disclosure Scotland’s key activity is providing its public service to customers. It operates to
a target of producing 90 per cent of all types of disclosure – which need no further enquiries
with the applicant - within 14 calendar days. This is measured from the day the (fully and
correctly completed) application is received by Disclosure Scotland to the day of dispatch.
? For the financial year 2009-10, around 947,000 applications were received, the
highest annual number experienced. This was growth of 7 per cent on the previous
year's volume. The growth was due to a strong increase in basic disclosures; the
number of enhanced and standard applications showed a decrease.
? On the composition of applications, around 62 per cent were for basic disclosures, 37
per cent for enhanced disclosures, and 1 per cent for standard disclosures.
? The average processing time of applications by Disclosure Scotland in 2009-10 was
6.6 days, and, overall, 97 per cent of applications were processed within the
In addition to application vetting, a range of support activity underpinned this performance,
including handling calls from the public, liaison with forces, and training of staff.
? Disclosure Scotland established a capacity during 2009-10 to assess Northern Irish
criminal record information electronically. This change allows Disclosure Scotland to
broaden its searching of criminal record databases in the UK. Fundamentally, it
enhances the quality of service provided to employers and organisations requesting
disclosure information by broadening that scope. This change will be continued
within the new IT software being developed for PVG in the coming year.
? Disclosure Scotland also embedded a Disaster Recovery capacity within the
organisation during 2009-10. It now has a separate IT disaster recovery solution,
provided in a secondary data centre; as such, should the principle IT system be
disrupted for two days or more, the service can be provided through the use of the
secondary solution, thereby giving a level of protection against serious IT problems.
Failover and failback aspects of it are subject to testing on a 6 monthly basis.
? Disclosure Scotland established the basic groundwork during 2009-10 for a business
continuity capacity, which is an important part of the preparation for the PVG scheme.
Through the initiative, were there to be a total or partial loss of Disclosure Scotland’s
building (for whatever reason) for longer than 3 days, a third party recovery site can
be accessed, allowing Disclosure Scotland to accommodate key operational staff,
including staff from Disclosure Scotland’s business partner, BT. The live connection
- which completes the basic groundwork - is due to be established in the early part of
Improving the organisation and governance
? Disclosure Scotland reformed its website during 2009-10, providing more
comprehensive information for users.
? It bedded in a new complaints and disputes procedure, with clear escalation points
within Disclosure Scotland and target dates for replying.
? It made a transition to the Scottish Government’s information technology network
(SCOTS) and its electronic HR system, thereby improving its links to the corporate
information that staff rely on and putting staff on the same e-mail system with the
core of Scottish Government. Though not planned at the start of the year, the
organisation also began the preparations for moving staff with the most need onto the
core of Scottish Government electronic records data management system, which will
enable those staff to store and manage administrative information on a common
? 2009-10 saw a number of changes in the governance requirements for Disclosure
Scotland, largely as a response to it becoming an Executive Agency of the Scottish
Government. It disbanded its Joint Management Board (comprising Disclosure
Scotland and BT senior personnel) and the created a Strategic Board on the model that
is typical of Executive Agencies. As part of the same requirements of Agency status,
Disclosure Scotland will also have its own Audit Committee, composed primarily of
the non-executive members of the Strategic Board, who will assist in independently
assessing and directing the overall audit and control of the organisation. The Audit
Committee will work in collaboration with Disclosure Scotland’s external auditors
and Scottish Government’s Internal Audit in taking an overview of Disclosure
? A number of other internal changes were made to the boards and groups at Disclosure
Scotland during the year. Among them was the creation of a Risk Review Group to
take oversight of potential risks to the organisation. In addition, three cross-staff
groups were established - a Staff Forum, a Training Review Forum, and an
Environmental Forum – to promote the business of their respective areas and to help
develop employee engagement in the organisation. Disclosure Scotland also set up a
Partnership Group with the relevant trades union and Scottish Government’s Human
? It began the roll of out developmental reviews for staff which will help to enable a
structured approach to the planning of learning and development.
? On finance, preparations were made to help the Agency to report in due course a
formal set of accounts for the 2009-10 financial year, including establishing
methodologies to incorporate International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)-
compliant accounting treatments for the valuation of the partnership contract with BT
and the appropriate treatment of fee revenues for accounts purposes. Disclosure
Scotland also established an asset register for assets under construction to meet the
requirements for the implementation of the PVG (Scotland) Act 2007.
Preparing for the PVG Scheme
? Significant progress was made in the preparations for the PVG Scheme, where work
proceeded in partnership with the PVG Implementation Team within the core Scottish
Government. On the IT and related security preparations, Disclosure Scotland staff
contributed significantly to the specification of the user and system requirements for
PVG; developed a related test strategy; established the early necessary infrastructure
to support the coming PVG systems, and completed the security accreditation for the
Pacific Quay service. They also worked with future data providers – in particular the
Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) and the National Policing Improvement
Agency (NPIA) – to agree PVG access to third party information.
? A number of other critical activities were started during 2009-10, which will continue
into 2010-11. The Protection Unit required to run the consideration and barring
processes under PVG was established in embryonic form. It is now finalising the
decision making framework that will be used under PVG and began the process of
recruiting and planning the training of people in preparation for the new operation.
More broadly, project teams were formed to run the individual PVG work-streams
leading to a restructuring of staffing, more general PVG training, and future changes
to Disclosure Scotland’s external engagement that are required by the PVG scheme.
The registration data used in relation to Registered Bodies was reviewed and
refreshed in preparation for the move to PVG. Work proceeded in establishing the
Code of Practice and Guidance notes for PVG, and a start was made in developing the
new relationship with CRBS with a focus on streamlining processes for PVG.
4. KEY BUSINESS IN 2010-11 ALIGNED TO NATIONAL OUTCOMES
Disclosure Scotland’s key objective in 2010-11 will be to meet its public performance target.
It will continue to have 3 other objectives: improving existing operations; improving the
organisation; and planning for, and delivering, the new PVG Scheme on behalf of Scottish
Ministers. A list of the expected activity and their timings is outlined in the next chapter.
This chapter aligns key activities to the National Outcomes that Disclosure Scotland
Key activity in 2010–11: an outcome-based approach
? We have improved the life chances for children, young people, and families at risk
? We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger
Over the business year 2010–11, Disclosure Scotland will contribute to the achievement of
these National Outcomes by:
? delivering on its public performance target in providing employers and other
organisations with disclosures to aid their recruitment decisions;
? developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ireland police on
the exchange of information for check purposes;
? delivering the new Protection for Vulnerable Groups membership scheme, thereby
enhancing the protection benefits relative to the existing enhanced disclosure process
for people working with children and vulnerable adults;
? delivering the new barred lists for those regulated workforces, again enhancing the
protection benefits offered to employers and other organisations.
? Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to
local people’s needs
Over the business year 2010-11, Disclosure Scotland will contribute to the achievement of
this National Outcome by:
? reviewing its business continuity arrangements to align with the requirements of the
? reviewing its approach to the pro-active publication of corporate information and
establishing an improved scheme;
? establishing Key Performance Indicators and publishing this information, to ensure
that outputs or outcomes are reported and can be monitored.