Policy and code of practice

Policy statement on the recruitment of people with past convictions.


We aim to promote equality of opportunity for all, and recognises the importance of employment in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

Criminal records will be taken into account for recruitment purposes only when a conviction is relevant. Unless the nature of work demands it, applicants will not be asked to disclose convictions which are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Having an 'unspent' conviction will not necessarily bar applicants from employment, and will depend on the circumstances and background to the offence(s).

Applicants who are offered employment to certain posts exempted under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, will require a criminal record check ('disclosure') from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before an appointment can be confirmed. These include posts working with vulnerable groups including children. The disclosure will include details of cautions, reprimands or final warnings, as well as convictions.

From 29 May 2013, the DBS removed certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates or 'disclosures' issued from this date. Changes to the legislation were introduced to allow the Disclosure and Barring Service to do this.

The filtering rules (opens in a new window) and the list of offences that will never be filtered (opens in a new window) are available to view on the DBS website via the links.

For more information about filtering, please see the DBS filtering guidance (opens in a new window).

Applicants can also contact the Disclosure and Barring Service by email: customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk or tel: 03000 200 190

Disclosure and Barring Service Code of Practice

We comply fully with the Code of Practice issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service, ensuring that information released in disclosures is used fairly and handled and stored appropriately.

The subjects of disclosures should be reassured that we will not use disclosure information unfairly against them.

All employees involved in the disclosure process and in making employment related decisions are provided with guidance on employing people with convictions, legislative requirements and the DBS Code of Practice.