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Job applicants with convictions

Updating author: Rob Davies

Summary

  • Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a conviction becomes "spent" after the elapse of a defined period of time, allowing a job applicant to be treated for most purposes as if his or her conviction had never occurred. (See The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
  • Job applicants are in most cases permitted to conceal details relating to spent convictions from a prospective employer. (See The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
  • It is unlawful to refuse to employ someone on the grounds that he or she has a spent conviction (although recruitment into some jobs is exempt from this provision). (See The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
  • The periods of time after which convictions become spent are precisely defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. (See Rehabilitation periods)
  • A job applicant whose sentence exceeds four years can never be rehabilitated under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. (See Exclusions)
  • There is a long list of excluded jobs and professions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. (See Excluded jobs)
  • Individuals, with prospective employers, can apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service for information about their convictions. (See Access to criminal records)
  • Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 there is a centralised vetting system for people barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults, in paid and unpaid work. (See Safeguarding vulnerable groups)
  • It is an offence for a person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults to seek to, or actually engage in, a "regulated activity". It is also an offence for an employer knowingly to permit someone who is barred to engage in a "regulated activity". (See Safeguarding vulnerable groups)
  • Employers and employment businesses and agencies are under a duty to pass information about individuals who have harmed a child or vulnerable adult to the Disclosure and Barring Service. (See Safeguarding vulnerable groups)
  • Employers may need to carry out additional checks on job applicants for posts that could be vulnerable to bribery risks. (See The implications of the Bribery Act 2010)

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