New Disclosure Scheme to Come Into Force for Convictions

The Government has announced changes to the amount of time that criminal convictions will remain ‘live’ and discloseable by employees to prospective employers. Bedford employment solicitor Andrew Buckley explains more. 

The changes are designed to make it easier for ex-convicts to get work, with the Government realistically accepting that if people can’t earn an honest wage, they are more likely to re-offend.

The law is currently set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This provides that after a period of time, a conviction becomes spent and no longer has to be disclosed to a prospective employer, unless the profession or occupation falls within one of the given exceptions. For example, a conviction for sexual assault upon a child would always be discloseable if the person convicted was applying to become a teacher.

From 10th March 2014, a new disclosure regime will apply. Convictions will still be discloseable for a specific amount of time following the conviction, but this amount of time will reduce. There is a sliding scale for convictions becoming spent, which ranges from 7 years for people sentenced to up to 4 years in prison, to 1 year for people who are fined. As before, some convictions (for example, where the individual is sentenced to more than 4 years in prison) will never be spent. Similarly, some occupations will remain exempt from the provisions making convictions spent.

For more information

If you would like advice about this or any other employment related matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Bedfordshire employment solicitor Andrew Buckley on 01234 270600.