Criminal record of a job applicant, what can you ask?
Since the 29th May 2013 the law changed to introduce new rules for filtering certain minor and old convictions and cautions from disclosure in criminal record checks (previously called CRB checks, now called DBS – as they are administered by the Disclosure and Barring Service).
Amended guidance for employers has now finally been published by the Government which suggests what employers can legally ask job applicants about their criminal history. Instead of: “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence or received a caution, reprimand or warning?”
Now, employer’s should ask: “Do you have any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings which would not be filtered in line with current guidance?”
[Nb. jobs which involve working with children/vulnerable adults are ‘excepted posts’ and so will be subject to disclosure of DBS or enhanced DBS certificates under safeguarding rules in any event.]
What will and will not be disclosed
A simple guide is:
– 1 adult caution: will not be disclosed after 6 years provided not on list of relevant safeguarding offences
– 1 adult conviction: will not be disclosed after 11 years provided non-custodial (i.e. non-prison) sentence imposed and not on list of relevant safeguarding offences
– 2 or more adult convictions will ALWAYS be disclosed
– Youth caution: as above but 2 years
– Youth convictions: as above but 5.5 years
The list of offences that will NEVER be filtered is pretty long and includes serious offences eg. murder, sexual and violent offences, as well as public order offences. Custodial sentences of 30 months or more are also NEVER spent.
If you would like to view the guidance in full, then click here.
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Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.