Self-Disclosure Guidance | Nacro

What do I need to disclose from my criminal record?



This guide is for people who are applying for jobs, roles or courses that require placements, which are exempt, or ‘excepted’, from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. These are the jobs, roles or courses in England or Wales which may require you to apply for a standard or enhanced or enhanced and barred Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate also known as higher-level DBS certificates.

Please note that different rules apply if you are applying for jobs, roles or courses in Scotland or Northern Ireland.


Schemes of disclosure

In England and Wales, there are two schemes of disclosure:


This is information that an employer or education provider asks you to provide in the form of a criminal record declaration. The information they are entitled to ask and that you are obliged to disclose depends on the type of role (or course) you have applied for.

Vetting checks

This is the formal process by which an organisation can verify the information you have self-disclosed. Most vetting checks in England and Wales are processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (also known as DBS checks), but other types of vetting checks include security vetting such as Security Clearance, Developed Vetting, Counter Terrorism Checks among others. The type or level of check an organisation can request depends on the role you have applied for.

For more information, please download the resource.


Discover our Criminal Record Support Service

Our Criminal Record Support Service offers free, confidential advice and guidance on criminal record related issues. We help individuals to understand their rights when asked to disclose a criminal record and how best to approach disclosure. We also help individuals and practitioners to understand the rules relating to criminal records. We can also advocate on a person’s behalf if they have been treated unfairly when trying to access employment, education and training.

To find out more, see our Criminal Record Support Service information.