Working as a teacher

Working for a nursery

Working for airports or airlines

Working for banks and financial institutions

Working in the health and social care sector

Working in licensed premises (e.g. pubs)

Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences

Taxi licences

Joining the armed forces

Working as a teacher

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 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

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, final warnings and reprimands 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.

If you would like more advice about applying to work as a teacher, or to study to qualify as a teacher, contact us on 0300 123 1999 or email helpline@nacro.org.uk.

Working for a nursery

Nurseries are regulated by Ofsted. The vast majority of work within a nursery will be considered regulated activity with children as nurseries and other childcare premises fall within the definition of a specified establishment under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Any work (including voluntary work) carried out within the nursery environment on a regular basis (i.e. once a month or more, at least four times within a 30-day period or overnight) which provides the opportunity for contact with children, is regulated activity with children.

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

If you apply for jobs within a nursery environment which provide the opportunity for contact with children, you will need to declare all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands which are not eligible for filtering. If you are not sure what you need to declare, contact us on 0300 123 199 or email helpline@nacro.org.uk.

If you apply to be a nursery worker, you may be subject to the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009, the details of which are outlined below.

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.

What is relevant childcare provision?

Early years provision (children aged under five)

This concerns all staff who provide any care for a child aged under five, including education in nursery and reception classes, as well as any supervised activity (e.g. breakfast clubs, lunchtime supervision and care provided by the school) during and outside school hours.

Later years provision (children aged between five and eight)

This applies to staff who are employed to work in childcare provided by the school outside school hours for children aged between five and eight. This does not include education or supervised activity for children over the age of five during school hours (including extended school hours for extra-curricular activities such as school sports teams) but does include before and after school provision, such as breakfast clubs.

Who is disqualified under the regulations?

People are disqualified from relevant childcare provision if they have been barred from regulated activity with children (i.e. they are on the children’s barred list)

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

If you know that someone who lives or works in your household is on the children’s barred list, or has an unspent conditional caution or conviction for a relevant offence, you should declare this on the declaration form. However, you only need to provide information to the best of your knowledge – you are not required to seek additional information from someone living or working in your household as this could amount to a breach under the Data Protection Act.
The table below summarises what you may need to declare on a criminal record declaration form.

You (applicant)Someone you live withSomeone working in your household
You (applicant)Someone you live withSomeone working in your household
Unprotected cautionsUnspent conditional cautions for a relevant offenceUnspent conditional cautions for a relevant offence
Unprotected convictionsUnspent convictions for a relevant offenceUnspent convictions for a relevant offence
Children’s barred list statusChildren’s barred list statusChildren’s barred list status

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

If you know that someone who lives or works in your household has been cautioned or convicted, you will only need to declare this if:

  • the caution or conviction is unspent AND
  • the caution or conviction is for a relevant offence AND/OR
  • the individual concerned is on the children’s barred list.

You only need to provide this information to the best of your knowledge. It is unlawful for your employer to request copies of criminal record certificates or police records from someone living or working in your household. This amounts to a breach under the Data Protection Act. If your employer is requesting additional information about someone living or working in your household, contact us on 0300 123 1999 or email helpline@nacro.org.uk.

Which offences disqualify me or someone living or working in my household?

Relevant offences that may disqualify you or someone living or working in your household are listed under Regulation 4 of the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009. For a comprehensive list, please see page 13 onwards of the Department for Education’s statutory guidance.

I, or someone I live with, fall/s under the disqualification criteria. 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 contact Ofsted for the relevant form by emailing disqualification@ofsted.gov.uk.

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:

Working for airports or airlines

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:

Working for banks and financial institutions

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, cautions, final warnings and reprimands 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.

Working in the health and social care sector

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, cautions, final warnings and reprimands 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).

Working in licensed premises (e.g. pubs)

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.

file_pdf  Licensing Act 2003 relevant offences guidance (154 KB)

Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences

SIA licensing is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must declare all cautions, convictions, final warnings and reprimands 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 licences

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, convictions, final warnings and reprimands 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)

Transport for London has produced publicly available guidance that gives details of how criminal records are assessed when considering taxi and private vehicle hire licence applications. 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.

Joining the armed forces

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.