image of a criminal record support worker helping with paperwork

Disclosure in different job types

There are different requirements and restrictions for different types of jobs. We have outlined some of the main roles we get asked about.

Employers use various methods to recruit new staff and the point at which you make your disclosure may not be the same for every job. In general, you should disclose your record at the point at which you are asked for a declaration. This is for two reasons: employers prefer it that way and it will help your own peace of mind. If an employer has a problem with your record, it is better to know early on.

Learn more about preparing a disclosure statement.

Often, you will be asked to apply for a job with a CV and covering letter. Submitting a CV gives you an opportunity to sell yourself by writing about your experience, knowledge and skills and why you are the best person for the job.

You should not include any information about your criminal record on your CV. If you have gaps in your employment history which are due to time in prison and you are not asked directly to write about your criminal record in your application, you could explain these gaps by stating that you were ‘unavailable for work’ at a certain period in time. Remember: if you are not asked for a criminal record declaration directly, then there is no need for you to disclose this information at this stage. But you must be prepared to answer fully and honestly if you are asked, at interview, to explain what you mean by ‘unavailable for work’.

We advise that you put everything in writing so you have evidence that you disclosed your criminal record. Some people prefer to disclose verbally at interview, but it is important to also have a written disclosure statement as well. It is likely that the subject will come up at interview and you should do your best to focus on reassuring the employer that you do not present a risk in the role you have applied for and support this with evidence of how your circumstances or attitude has changed.

Instead of being asked to submit a CV and covering letter for the job, you might have to complete an application form which includes a section asking you to make a criminal record declaration.

Either state on the form that you have a conviction and that you will be happy to discuss it if selected for interview, or prepare a written disclosure statement that can be sent with the application form. If you decide to send a disclosure statement, you should enter on the application form that you are sending a disclosure statement under a separate cover.

The statement should be sent in a sealed envelope which is marked confidential and states your name and details of the post for which you are applying.

You might be better at explaining things verbally rather than in writing. However, it is important to have a written statement as well. If disclosing verbally, you should prepare what you intend to say very carefully in advance.

It is difficult to be totally relaxed in an interview and you do not want to be in the position of either letting the disclosure dominate the interview or, on the other hand, finding that you become confused when giving information about your criminal record.

You should be aware that sometimes it is not the people conducting the interview who will make the final recruitment decision when there has been a criminal record declaration. Therefore, if you decide to speak about your criminal record in an interview, take along a written disclosure statement to give to the interview panel so that it can be kept with your application and will serve as evidence that you have disclosed your criminal record.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulates the following professions:

  • arts therapists
  • biomedical scientists
  • chiropodists/podiatrists
  • clinical scientists
  • dietitians
  • hearing aid dispensers
  • occupational therapists
  • operating department practitioners
  • orthoptists
  • paramedics
  • physiotherapists
  • practitioner psychologists
  • prosthetists/orthotists
  • radiographers
  • social workers in England
  • speech and language therapists

To become registered in the above professions, you must meet the standards set by the HCPC, including being of ‘suitable character’. As part of the character assessment, the HCPC will consider whether your past conduct means that you can practice in a way that does not put the public at risk or affect public confidence in your profession. The roles that are regulated by the HCPC are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and will require an enhanced DBS check.

Having a criminal record does not mean that you will be refused registration; there are many registered healthcare professionals with past convictions. It is important that you declare your convictions and cautions that are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering) when submitting your application. The information you provide will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with considerations given to the following:

  • the number and nature of any offence(s)
  • the seriousness of the offence(s)
  • when and where the offence(s) took place
  • any information you provide to explain the circumstances
  • your character and conduct since the offence(s)
  • your attitude and whether you show that you have an understanding of what made you behave in the way you did

Please see the HCPC’s Guidance on health and character document for full details of the assessment (page 18 onwards).

If you apply to work as a teacher for primary and secondary schools within England and Wales, you are applying to work in regulated activity with children under the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009. Please note that amendments to these regulations will come into force on 31 August 2018. Please see here for the guidance that will be effective from that date.

You cannot apply for regulated activity with children if you have been barred from working with children.

If you apply for teaching jobs, or for courses which result in a teaching qualification and involve work placements within schools, you will need to declare all spent and unspent convictions, cautions which are not eligible for filtering. If you are not sure what you need to declare, contact us on 0300 123 1999 or email helpline@nacro.org.uk.

If you apply to teach children of reception age (five or under), or if you supervise children aged between five and eight in childcare provision before or after school hours (e.g. breakfast clubs) you will be subject to the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009.

If you are applying for teaching roles which are not subject to the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 and you have a criminal record, this does not mean that you cannot successfully pursue a teaching career with children. You may need to declare your criminal record and, depending on the relevancy of the information you provide, the school may need to conduct a risk assessment to determine your suitability for the role.

  1. Disqualification by association
  2. they have committed an offence overseas which would meet the disqualification criteria if it had been committed in the UK.

I am applying to/already work for a nursery. Will I be disqualified?

If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you may be disqualified from working in a nursery environment.

I am applying to/already work as a teacher. Will I be disqualified?

You may be disqualified if:

  • you teach children of reception age (five or under) and you meet any of the above criteria.
  • you supervise children aged between five and eight before or after school, including breakfast clubs but excluding extra-curricular activities (e.g. school choir or sports clubs) and you meet any of the above criteria.

My employer has given me a criminal record declaration form to complete. What do I need to declare?

Most roles within schools and other relevant childcare settings are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. If you are applying to provide relevant childcare provision you must declare any of your own convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands which are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering).

Am I required to provide information about someone who lives or works in the same household as me?

You will only be required to provide information about someone who lives or works in the same household as you if the work you undertake is home-based. This does not apply if you are applying to work in a nursery setting.

I am disqualified under the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations. What should I do?

If you have been advised by your employer that you fall within the disqualification criteria, you can apply for a waiver from Ofsted. Your employer should explain how to make this application, or you can find the relevant forms here.

Ofsted cannot grant a waiver if you have been barred from working with children (although they can consider a waiver if someone in your household is on the children’s barred list). Ofsted does not have the authority to waive the disqualification of people who work in early years provision or on childcare premises, but are not employed by the organisation running the provision.

While a waiver is being considered, you cannot work in relevant childcare provision. However, there may be alternative work within the organisation that you can do while the application is being considered, or your employer might be able to make reasonable adjustments to your role. For example, if you are a reception teacher, you could be redeployed to teach older children while the waiver is being considered.

How does Ofsted decide whether to grant a waiver?

Before making a decision, Ofsted will consider:

  • the risk to children
  • the nature and severity of any offences, cautions or orders disclosed
  • how long ago any offences took place or orders were issued
  • repetition of any offences or orders or any particular pattern of offending
  • notes of any interviews with the disqualified person
  • any other information available from other authorities, such as the police
  • any mitigating factors.

If you are disqualified by association, Ofsted may also take your character into account.

Ofsted have refused to grant me a waiver. Can I appeal?

You have the right to appeal Ofsted’s decision. To do so, you need to write to the Health, Education and Social Care First-Tier Tribunal within 28 days of Ofsted’s decision letter.

Where can I get further advice about the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009?

For further advice about the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations, you can contact us on 0300 123 1999 or email helpline@nacro.org.uk. All enquiries are treated in the strictest confidence. Other sources of information and advice include:

Nurseries are regulated by Ofsted. The vast majority of work within a nursery will be considered regulated activity with children.

What are the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009?

These regulations are made under section 75 of the Childcare Act 2006. They set out the circumstances under which a person may be disqualified from providing relevant childcare provision. A disqualified person may not provide relevant childcare provision or be involved in the management of such provision.

Who is disqualified under the regulations?

People are disqualified from relevant childcare provision if::

  1. They have been barred from regulated activity with children (i.e. they are on the children’s barred list)
  2. They have been cautioned or convicted of certain violent and/or sexual offences against an adult or child
  3. they have been cautioned or convicted for any offence involving death or bodily injury to a child
  4. their child or children has/have ever been taken into care or been the subject of a child protection order or certain other orders
  5. they have previously been refused registration relating to childcare, children’s homes or had such registration cancelled, or been prohibited from private fostering
  6. they are living in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or works (this is known as ‘disqualification by association’)
  7. they have committed an offence overseas which would meet the disqualification criteria if it had been committed in the UK.

I am applying to/already work for a nursery. Will I be disqualified?

If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you may be disqualified from working in a nursery environment.

Many jobs within banks and financial institutions require the declaration of unspent convictions only. If you are not sure whether your conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA), please seek advice before applying to a bank or financial institution as you are likely to be asked to undergo a basic criminal record check. If there are any discrepancies between what you have disclosed during your application and what appears on your basic check, this will give rise to serious concerns around honesty and integrity.

If you apply for a role that involves performing a controlled function, as specified under section 59 of the Financial Services and Markets Act, you will need Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval. Controlled functions include roles that involve selling or advising on investments such as personal or stakeholder pensions, life assurance policies, shares or collective investment schemes.

FCA-approved roles are exempt from the ROA and are subject to standard DBS checks. This means that you should disclose spent and unspent convictions and cautions that are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering). The FCA will take this information into account when assessing your ‘fitness and propriety’ to perform a controlled function (for details on this process, please see here). Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from securing FCA approval to perform a controlled function. The FCA’s approach to considering applicants with criminal records is detailed in their handbook, but a more comprehensive guide can also been found here.

SIA licensing is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must declare all cautions and convictions both spent and unspent that are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering) and the SIA will request a standard DBS check.

Having a criminal record does not necessarily mean that you will not be granted a licence, but the SIA has very specific guidelines in place. Download the SIA Get Licensed guidance for full details.

The SIA will consider:

  • whether you have a relevant offence on your record (see pages 52-69 of their guidance for details of what is a relevant offence)
  • the sentence or disposal that you received
  • the length of time since your offence(s)

In considering the above, the SIA specifies a period that must have elapsed with no further offences having been committed before they will consider granting you a licence. Please note that these periods are not the same as rehabilitation periods as defined under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

If you have a single caution or conviction for a relevant offence, the SIA guidance (page 44 or 48) should tell you whether your application would be automatically refused. The guidance is less clear for applicants who have multiple convictions. However, the SIA has a useful tool on their website, the criminal record indicator, which allows individuals to enter their criminal record details and advises as to whether the licence application would be considered or whether it would be automatically refused. If you do not fall within the automatic refusal category, you may be asked to provide mitigation. The SIA should provide full details of what is required from you for mitigation purposes, but this usually includes the following:

  • A statement from you evidencing your rehabilitation – i.e. reassuring the SIA that whatever your circumstances were at the time of offending, these circumstances have changed, you’ve addressed any past issues you may have had, you’ve moved on etc.
  • Good-quality character references from people of standing within your community who have no vested interest in you gaining a security licence. The referees must state in the reference that they know about your criminal record.

If you are asked to provide mitigation, you must provide exactly what is asked of you otherwise your licence application is very likely to be rejected. The only opportunity to appeal this rejection is through court proceedings. In our experience, applicants that provide the mitigation that is asked of them are more likely to be successful in securing their SIA licence.

Taxi licensing and private vehicle hire licensing are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must declare spent and unspent cautions and convictions that are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering) and the licensing authority will request an enhanced DBS check.

In accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a district council cannot grant a licence to drive a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle unless they are satisfied that the applicant is a ‘fit and proper’ person. Having a criminal record does not necessarily mean that you will not be granted a taxi or private vehicle hire licence. When determining your suitability to be a licence-holder, the following will be taken into consideration:

  • nature of the offence(s) committed
  • circumstances in which any offence was committed
  • subsequent periods of good behaviour
  • overall conviction history
  • sentence imposed by the court
  • any other character check considered reasonable (e.g. references)

For details about how your criminal record might affect your licence application, please see here. According to the guidance, your application is likely to be refused if you have been convicted of any of the following offences, unless there are exceptional circumstances:

  • murder
  • manslaughter
  • manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving
  • terrorism offences
  • offence or offences which are similar to the above (see the guidance for details).

The guidance also details other offences that are likely to raise concerns when considering an application, together with details of the length of time after committing an offence an applicant should wait before applying. Please see page 18 onwards of this document for details. Please note that each local authority will have its own policies in assessing criminal records, so for a definitive guide it is best to request the policy from whichever council to which you are applying.

The aviation sector is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

If you are applying for a job that requires you to hold an airport identification card, you will be asked to undergo a basic criminal record check which will disclose details of any unspent convictions that you have. If you have lived abroad continuously for six months in the previous five years, you will also need to apply for the equivalent of the airport identification card for all countries where you have lived.

You will need an airport identification card if the job will involve:

If you have unspent convictions, it doesn’t mean that you will not be considered for the job. The CAA provides a list of offences that are likely to be of greatest concern to them when considering your suitability for the role. If you have an unspent, disqualifying offence, there are ways in which you can appeal. Please see here for further details.

Some jobs that are regulated by the CAA require National Security Vetting (NSV) and Counter Terrorism Checks (CTC). NSV is to ensure that a person’s character and personal circumstances are such that they can be trusted to work in a position which may involve access to sensitive assets or areas. The details of roles that require NSV are not publicly available for security reasons, but you will be advised by your employer if you apply for a role that requires this type of vetting. CTC involves a check against UK criminal and other records, including information held by the Security Service and credit reference agencies This clearance is required if you will be accessing sensitive assets or areas, including security restricted areas in airports or in contact with public figures where there is a specific threat from terrorism.

If you apply for a job that is subject to NSV, you will need to declare both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands (including those that are protected i.e. eligible for filtering). Failure to declare this information on the security questionnaire will give rise to serious concerns. A criminal record is not necessarily a bar to NSV clearance. The CAA will consider whether your criminal record affects your suitability for the post. Those with serious, repeated and recent offence(s) will be more likely to be considered unsuitable. See below for the lists of offences that will be considered relevant:

Under the Licensing Act 2003, anyone who will be operating licensed premises must apply for a Personal Licence.

As part of the licence application, you will be asked to declare any unspent criminal convictions and you will need to apply for a basic criminal record check. Personal licence applications are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, so you do not need to declare any cautions or convictions which are spent. If you are unsure whether your criminal record is spent, please see here for more information.

The following convictions (provided they are unspent) may be considered relevant to your personal licence application:

  • offences relating to controlled drugs
  • offences of serious dishonesty
  • some sex offences
  • offences created by the Licensing Act

If you declare any unspent, relevant offences, the relevant police force will check their local records and make a decision about your suitability to be granted a personal licence. The relevant chief police officer has 14 days to notify the licensing authority of any objections.
Please see this document for further details.

Licensing Act 2003 relevant offences guidance

When you apply to join the Army, you will be asked to declare any unspent convictions that you may have. Most jobs in the Army are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA), which means that once your conviction is spent you do not have to declare it.

Some jobs in the Army are exempt from the ROA and will require you to disclose both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands. Such jobs might include, for example, training people under the age of 18.

You can contact our Criminal Record Support Service with any questions you might have about what, when and how to disclose. We can also give you advice about preparing a disclosure statement, review and provide constructive feedback on any draft statements.

All queries are treated in the strictest confidence. You do not have to provide any personal details, or tell us about the nature of your offence(s) if you do not want to. You can contact us on 0300 123 1999 or helpline@nacro.org.uk.

Criminal recrod support service staff member on Nacro helpline

You can contact us on 0300 123 1999 helpline@nacro.org.uk

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm
Friday: 1pm – 5pm

Our advisors can help you with any questions you may have.