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Changes to the information provided by criminal records disclosure checks

15th December 2020
On the 28th November 2020 changes came into force in relation to information provided through a criminal records request (DSB check).

DSB checks can be important for employers in deciding if they wish to recruit certain people as an employee. In some sectors the check is essential, such as in the financial sector and care sector. In particular, relevant roles included those that involved working closely with children and vulnerable adults and where the role requires a large degree of public trust.

Part V of the Police Act 1997 is the legislation which governs the disclosure of information by the Disclosure and barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales. The legislation also governs the situations in which a criminal record certificate (CRC) or an enhanced record certificate (ECRC) must be issued.

Prior to the recent changes the effect of an enquiry was that where a person had more than one conviction, all their convictions would then be disclosed -regardless of the nature of the conviction. In addition, under the previous provisions, youth cautions would be disclosed. This would include cautions and reprimands.

A case was brought in the courts, which eventually reached the Supreme Court. In that case, R (on the application of P) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019], the court ruled that the “multiple conviction rule”- which required the disclosure of all the individual’s convictions regardless of the nature of those convictions, and the disclosure of reprimands and warnings administered to young offenders, was disproportionate, and in breach of the Article 8 right to private life.

The new rules result in the youth cautions and reprimands and warnings not being automatically disclosed, and the abolition of the “multiple conviction rule.”

New guidance on the impact of the change and the new rules has been published by the Government, and is available on the Government website.    

Clearly, sectors that have expected to receive full details of all convictions of job applicants will need to be aware of this recent change, and take this into account in dealing with their recruitment procedures and policies.
If you need any further advice on any matter raised in this article do not hesitate to contact us at Hallett Employment Law Services Ltd.

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