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East Midlands Chamber News

New System of Criminal Records Checks

Victoria BunnellChanges to CRB checks have come into force which means some convictions will no longer be disclosed, says employment solicitor Victoria Bunnell.

Under the new system old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer appear on criminal records checks by employers for certain roles involving working unsupervised with children and vulnerable adults.

Currently, criminal records checks disclose all convictions and cautions, even those that are spent, said Victoria, of Fraser Brown solicitors, Nottingham.

"The government’s aim with the new system is to seek a balance between protecting vulnerable groups whilst avoiding intrusion into people’s lives," she said.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 states that those convicted of a criminal offence, who have not re-offended during a specified time from the date of their conviction, are to be treated as if their conviction never occurred. Cautions are also included in this system.

"A spent conviction does not need to be disclosed to an employer, and an employer must not refuse to employ or dismiss because of it. There are, however, circumstances where the employer must take this into consideration, such as teaching and social work roles," Victoria said.

She added: "Under the new system, convictions resulting in non-custodial sentences will be filtered from record checks after 11 years for adults and 5.5 years for young offenders, provided that the offender has no other convictions. Cautions will be removed after six years for adults and two years for young offenders.

"However, some cautions and convictions will never be eligible to be filtered out from criminal records checks, such as serious violent or sexual offences, offences with a custodial sentence and multiple offences. There remain a small number of specific positions where all convictions and cautions may still be taken into account.

"Although the changes are broadly to be welcomed, there remains a criticism that the new legislation does not address all of the issues necessary. In particular, it does not require that the conviction have any relevance to the position applied for, which could clearly lead to adverse results."