New PVG scheme to ensure patient safety

11 August, 2011 / Infocus

For dental professionals, providing care, treatment and advice to children and vulnerable adults is part of their everyday job. Safe recruitment policies are already commonplace across Scottish dental practices but a new scheme is set to make this process easier.

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme) has been introduced by the Scottish Government this year to replace and improve upon the current enhanced disclosure service for people who work with vulnerable groups.

The PVG Scheme is a new membership scheme that will help to ensure that those who have regular contact with children and protected adults through paid and unpaid work, do not have a known history of harmful behaviour.

It introduces a system that will continuously update people’s membership records, should any new vetting information become known. This includes conviction information retrieved from criminal justice systems and non-conviction information held by the police that’s considered relevant. This means that any new information indicating that a person may pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be acted upon promptly by employers.

As well as strengthening protection for vulnerable groups, the PVG Scheme is quick and easy for staff and volunteers to use and reduces the need for people to complete a lengthy application form each time a disclosure check is needed.

Dentists already have a legal obligation to register themselves and their staff with the General Dental Council, which has guidelines on standards for dental professionals and the PVG Scheme will work alongside these measures.

How it works

The PVG Scheme will be phased in over four years and will be managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland.

In its first year, Disclosure Scotland will deal primarily with scheme membership applications for people who are new to regulated work with vulnerable groups, people who have changed posts, or have had some other change of circumstances that requires confirmation of scheme membership.

David Patel, chief executive at Disclosure Scotland, said: “We recognise that some organisations, for legislative, regulatory or operational reasons, may have a requirement to bring some of their existing staff onto the PVG Scheme membership ahead of the planned retrospective checking phase, which is generally expected to begin in year two. Where this is necessary or desirable, agreement will be reached on a case-by-case basis between Disclosure Scotland and the organisation. Applications to join the scheme in the first year will continue to be made and responded to on paper.”

In the year after it goes live, secure online PVG Scheme accounts will become available for PVG Scheme members and Disclosure Scotland’s registered bodies. While a paper-based system will still be available for those who want it, the electronic accounts will operate to similar levels of security used for online banking and will enable individuals to update personal details and make online applications. For organisations registered with Disclosure Scotland, all disclosure application types will be made online.

Shortly after the online system becomes available, it’s expected that organisations will apply for their existing workforce to become members of the PVG Scheme. The retrospective checking process is expected to take at least three years.

A suite of guidance and training materials on the PVG Scheme is available on the Disclosure Scotland website. These include an e-learning package, a downloadable presentation and a regulated work self-assessment tool. The Central Registered Body in Scotland is also delivering a comprehensive package of training and support to help voluntary organisations interact with the PVG Scheme after it goes live.

If you want to find out more about the PVG Scheme, call the help service on 0870 609 6006 or emailor visit


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