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Completing the disclosure process

The safeguarding of young people in our care is very important. The Scout Association has various processes in place to ensure that appropriate adults can take up volunteering opportunities; one element being the requirement of a Disclosure check.

Processing disclosures during Coronavirus pandemic

We have been working with our disclosure partners across the Nations (Access NI, Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure and Barring Service) to restart disclosure checking from 6 July 2020.

This does not necessarily mean that face-to-face activities can take place in your area, but processing disclosures again is part of preparing for a safe return. Visit Getting Everyone Back Together Safely webpages for information on this.

 ID checking

The safety of all volunteers in the process of completing disclosure applications is very important. There are two ways to complete ID checking. You can meet someone face-to-face and check their ID documents, however, you must do this in line with your Government’s guidance on social distancing.


You can follow the temporary current guidance all disclosure authorities are using for online ID checking. The steps to complete an online ID check are:

Note: The applicant must present the original versions of the documents used when they first attend their volunteering role.

Please remember that volunteers must be happy to do their ID check online, this is their choice, they cannot be required to do so. Clearly the disclosure cannot be processed until the ID checking process has been completed.

Using expired UK passports for ID validation (DBS in England and Wales)

We are aware that it is taking longer than usual to process UK passport applications due to COVID-19. In response to this, DBS will temporarily allow expired UK passports that are within 6 months of the expiry date for the DBS identity checking purposes.  The applicant must be in possession of their expired passport to use it as an identity document.   

Acting on disclosure reminder emails from Compass

All reminder emails from Compass related to disclosures must be acted on from 6 July 2020. The Compass disclosure compliance report is there to assist line managers in identifying who needs a disclosure check.

Volunteers and line managers should focus on getting volunteers who require a disclosure through the process as soon as possible. The automatic suspension of volunteers without a disclosure from 5 October 2020 will be activated, if there has been no progress on applying for a new disclosure check. This is in line with the previous information on the 90 extension to expired disclosures.

Possible delays

We are expecting some delays in processing disclosure applications as police forces and disclosure services are in a busy period and will still prioritise key workers. If your application is held up in this process you will not be suspended.

Which roles require a disclosure check?

When an adult volunteers with Scouting they are added to Compass. Depending on the role they have chosen, a Disclosure check may be required.

Compass knows this automatically and will inform the user if a Disclosure check is required. Compass also provides reminders at regular intervals before a volunteer’s Disclosure check expires. This will enable early action to obtain a new Disclosure check.

In addition to notifications directly to the volunteer, the line manager, relevant Commissioner and local Appointment Secretary will also receive regular notifications of those volunteers who need to complete a new Disclosure check.

It is important to keep email addresses up to date on Compass so that members do not miss these alerts.

POR: The appointment process in Policy, Organisation & Rules sets out in full which roles require a Disclosure check.

Information about obtaining a disclosure for transgender members and helpers in regulated activity.

How do I complete a disclosure application?

The process for completing a Disclosure application depends on the country the appointment is within.  Click on the relevant country below for more information.

What happens if a Disclosure check expires?

Any adult in Scouting whose disclosure has expired and has submitted a repeat application may continue Scouting in a supervised capacity. They would not be able to stay overnight at an event until such as time as their new disclosure check is in place and the National Vetting Process is completed.

The relevant Commissioner will receive notification of those volunteers who have not submitted an application and must therefore be suspended from involvement with Scouting until a valid disclosure check is in place and the National Vetting Process completed.

Volunteers can see the expiry date of their Disclosure check on their record on Compass. If the expiry date showing is in the past, that member does not have a current valid Disclosure. 

Within the disclosure tab on Compass there is a column called status where the current status of an application can be seen. Read the explanation of each status.

Processing an adverse disclosure check

Obtaining a valid disclosure from the relevant agency (DBS, ANI, PVG), together with completing the relevant Headquarters checks and local appointments process, play an essential part in safeguarding the young people in Scouting.

Where information is provided on a disclosure certificate, that information is assessed in accordance with the Safeguarding and Vetting Decision Guidance document (see POR Chapter 16: Adult Roles) in order to ensure that appropriate recruitment decisions are made.

It is critical that throughout this procedure that all information provided by the disclosure authorities, applicants and references are held in line with the Codes of Practice of the disclosure authorities and the Data Protection legislation.

Read the full guidance on what procedure to follow when information is provided on an applicant's disclosure check.

Disclosure for refugees

Understand how you can support asylum seekers and refugees to volunteer with us.

Discover guidance