The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Employers may wish to know whether a prospective employee has a criminal record, for example because:
it reflects on the employee’s character and suitability for the position, or
the information is required for regulatory purposes
Such information may be obtained by asking questions of the prospective employee or by carrying out checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Employers are not generally entitled to full disclosure of all previous convictions and cautions. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA 1974) provides for convictions to become spent, and a convicted person to become 'rehabilitated', at the end of a rehabilitation period—see: Spent convictions and Effect of rehabilitation below. However:
certain sentences are excluded from rehabilitation—see: Excluded sentences below, and
exceptions apply in relation to certain professions, employments and occupations—see: Exceptions to the rehabilitation protections below
The same rehabilitation protections (and exceptions) apply in respect of questions asked by the prospective employer and information provided in relation to a DBS check.
Before asking questions or carrying out DBS checks, the employer will therefore need to consider:
the provisions of ROA 1974 and the exceptions to it
the parallel provisions relating to the obtaining of DBS certificates in the Police Act 1997 and related regulations, and
the effect of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018)
**excludes LexisPSL Practice Compliance, Practice Management and Risk and Compliance. To discuss trialling these LexisPSL services please email customer service via our online form. Free trials are only available to individuals based in the UK. We may terminate this trial at any time or decide not to give a trial, for any reason. Trial includes one question to LexisAsk during the length of the trial.
To view the latest version of this document and thousands of others like it, sign-in to LexisPSL or register for a free trial.
Existing user? Sign-in
Take a free trial
Take a free trial
0330 161 1234