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Criminal Record Checks – Rules Relaxed

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

A new system has come into force which relaxes the rules regarding the disclosure of past convictions and cautions when checks are carried out on job applicants by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – formerly the Criminal Records Bureau.

This follows a judgment by the Court of Appeal in January this year that the blanket disclosure of all past offences, regardless of their antiquity or triviality, was a disproportionate interference with a job applicant’s right to privacy and thus an infringement of their human rights.

Under the new system, all serious offences and multiple offences will continue to be disclosed, but information on old convictions that resulted in a non-custodial sentence will cease to be included in criminal record checks after 11 years for adults and five and a half years for young offenders. Cautions will cease to be included after six years for adults and two years for young offenders.

The DBS Update Service now allows employers to carry out status checks on an individual’s DBS certificate online.

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