Rehabilitation of offenders

When someone is convicted at court for a criminal offence, that conviction will be disclosable in many situations including, most frequently, applications for employment.

There are, however, powerful controls as to when conviction information should be disclosed. A criminal conviction will need to be disclosed until sufficient time has passed and it has become 'spent'. When a criminal conviction is spent it will not need to be disclosed in the majority of situations. The rules governing the time until a particular conviction becomes spent are provided by Rehabilitation Periods under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. It is the sentence imposed for an offence that governs how long the rehabilitation period will be until a conviction becomes spent. The following table shows how long it will take for a particular conviction to become spent depending on the sentence imposed:

 

Rehabilitation Periods – Section 5 ROA 1974

Sentence

Rehabilitation period for adult offenders

Rehabilitation period for offenders under 18 at date of conviction

Custody in excess of 48 months

Never

Never

Custody of more than 30 months and up to 48 months

The end of the period of 7 years beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

The end of the period of 42 months beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

Custody of more than 6 months and up to 30 months

The end of the period of 48 months beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

The end of the period of 24 months beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

Custody of 6 months or less

The end of the period of 24 months beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

The end of the period of 18 months beginning with the day on which the sentence (including any licence period) is completed

Removal from Her Majesty's service

The end of the period of 12 months beginning with the date of the conviction in respect of which the sentence is imposed

The end of the period of 6 months beginning with the date of the conviction in respect of which the sentence is imposed

A sentence of service detention

The end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which the sentence is completed

The end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which the sentence is completed

Fine

The end of the period of 12 months beginning with the date of the conviction in respect of which the sentence is imposed

The end of the period of 6 months beginning with the date of the conviction in respect of which the sentence is imposed

Compensation order

The date on which the payment is made in full

The date on which the payment is made in full

Community Order or youth rehabilitation order

The end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day provided for by or under the order as the last day on which the order is to have effect

The end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day provided for by or under the order as the last day on which the order is to have effect

A relevant order including; conditional discharge, referral order, a bind-over post-conviction.

The day provided for by or under the order as the last day on which the order is to have effect

The day provided for by or under the order as the last day on which the order is to have effect

Absolute Discharge

Nil

Nil

 

There are, however, exceptions to the general principle of rehabilitation when the protections of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act are not deemed to apply with respect to certain jobs or positions. In these circumstances previous convictions will need to be disclosed even after they are considered spent. These excepted positions include:

Teacher, Healthcare worker, Solicitor, Barrister, Chartered/Certified Accountant, Veterinarian, Judicial positions, HMRC employment, Work with vulnerable people, Provision of Legal Services & Legal Practice, Immigration, Certain licence holders including taxi drivers, Activities with children and child associated professions, work regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority & Prudential Regulation Authority, Banking & Financial responsibility, Lottery Commission (granting of licence), Football Association, Master Locksmiths Association

 

 

 

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Ben Holden

Ben Holden

Solicitor, Trial Advocate and Team Leader
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