The Government has announced that it intends to reduce
rehabilitation periods for ex-offenders.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, criminal
convictions become "spent" after a defined period of time (the "rehabilitation
period"). The length of the rehabilitation period depends on the type and
length of sentence. Subject to certain exclusions, job applicants can
conceal spent convictions from prospective employers and an employer cannot
refuse to employ a job applicant because he or she has a spent conviction or has
concealed a spent conviction.
The Government intends to reduce the rehabilitation periods in the
Act and has tabled an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of
Offenders Bill. The Bill is progressing through Parliament and includes a
range of measures to reduce reoffending, improve the sentencing framework and
reform the legal aid system. Rehabilitation periods will run from when the
individual completes his or her sentence, rather than the date of conviction as
at present. For example, a sentence of between six and 30 months, which,
for an adult, currently has a rehabilitation period of 10 years from the date of
conviction, will have a rehabilitation period of four years from the end of the
sentence under the new provisions. An absolute discharge, which has a
rehabilitation period of six months under the current provisions, will, in
future, have no rehabilitation period. However, convictions resulting in a
custodial sentence of more than four years will remain unspent under the
Job applicants will continue to have to declare previous spent and
unspent convictions for certain roles, for example those involving work with
The Job applicants with
convictions section of the XpertHR employment law manual explains the law
relating to employing ex-offenders.
Policy on the recruitment of
ex-offenders Use this model policy to state your organisation's approach
towards employing people who have criminal convictions.