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Nacro is pleased to report that the Government has tabled legislative amendments which will remove some old and minor cautions and convictions from being disclosed on standard and enhanced level DBS checks.

This means that employers will not be able to take certain old and minor cautions and convictions into account when making decisions about any individual. Under these provisions all cautions and convictions for specified serious violent and sexual offences and other specified offences of relevance for posts concerned with safeguarding children and vulnerable adults will continue to be disclosed, and all convictions resulting in a custodial sentence will continue to be disclosed.

In the recent Court of Appeal case (R(T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and Others [2013] EWCA), it was found that the the current system of disclosing convictions was incompatible with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (the right to a private and family life), in that it provides for the disclosure to employers of, and allows employers to ask about and take into account, all spent convictions and cautions on a blanket basis. The proposals laid today responds to that judgment.

For non-specified offences, single convictions which resulted in non-custodial sentences and cautions will not be disclosed on a standard or enhanced level check, after a certain period of time:

• cautions, and equivalents, given to a young offender will not be subject to disclosure after a period of two years;
• adult cautions will not be subject to disclosure after a period of six years;
• a conviction received as a young offender resulting in a non-custodial sentence will not be subject to disclosure after a period of 5.5 years;
• an adult conviction resulting in a non-custodial sentence will not be subject to disclosure after a period of 11 years;
• a conviction will not be subject to disclosure only if there is no other conviction on the individual’s record, whether a young offender or an adult.

The new arrangements will come into force once the legislation has completed its passage through Parliament. The proposed changes apply to England and Wales only.

Speaking about the changes, Sally Benton, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Nacro said:

“Today’s changes will help many people who may have committed a mistake in the past but moved on from offending. This change is sensible and proportionate, and we are grateful to the Government for their swift response to the recent Court of Appeal ruling. This is change which will benefit employers and employees, but will crucially ensure that the system will not put vulnerable people and adults are put at risk.”