The Government has announced that changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will come into effect on 10 March 2014. The changes (contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012) will reduce the period during which certain convictions need to be disclosed to potential employers.
The law states that, subject to certain exceptions, a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence but who does not re-offend during a specified period from the date of conviction (the rehabilitation period) becomes “rehabilitated” and their conviction becomes “spent”. Then, unless one of the exceptions applies (which is usually in relation to serious crimes and/or where the person will work in certain professions e.g. teaching or working with vulnerable adults), they will be entitled to hold themselves out as having a clean record.
During the rehabilitation period, the conviction is not spent and should be disclosed in response to a request for details of any criminal record.
Currently this means all rehabilitation periods start from the date of conviction. This will change on 10 March 2014, so that rehabilitation periods will comprise the period of the sentence plus an additional specified period.
The announcement, along with a table reflecting the new rehabilitation periods, can be found here.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).