Disclosing your conviction

The Rehabilitation Offenders Act 1974 outlaws discrimination against ex-offenders. It gives people with spent convictions and cautions the right not to disclose them when applying for jobs, and for other products and services such as buying a house or insurance.

Certain criminal convictions are ‘spent’ (forgotten) after a rehabilitation period. This period varies according to the offence. Apart from those given prison sentences of more than four years, most people will see their conviction spent at some point in their lives.

When is my conviction spent?
For people aged 18 years or over at the time of conviction:
 
  • Community orders become spent after the length of the order plus one year
  • Prison sentences up to six months become spent after the length of the sentence plus two years
  • Prison sentences of more than six months and less than (or equal to) 30 months become spent after the length of the sentence plus four years
  • Prison sentences of more than 30 months and less than four years become spent after the length of the sentence plus seven years
  • Prison sentences over four years or public protection sentences are never spent
You don’t need to disclose spent convictions when applying for most jobs. Under the Act it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a spent conviction. However, some types of jobs are exempt from this Act – this means you have to disclose spent convictions as well as unspent ones.

Jobs where you have to disclose spent convictions include:

•    Working with children and vulnerable adults, such as older people and those with a disability
•    Senior roles in banking and the financial services industry
•    Certain posts connected to law enforcement, including the judiciary and the police
•    Work involving national security
•    Certain posts in the prison service
•    Certain professions areas such as health, pharmacy and the law
•    Private security work



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