Criminal records and 'spent' convictions

The time it takes for certain convictions to become ‘spent’ will be reduced so that they are no longer automatically disclosed on employment checks.

In an attempt to make it easier for ex-offenders to find work, the Ministry of Justice has proposed that certain convictions be ‘spent’ after a reduced amount of time so they no longer automatically appear on employment record checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service. However, the changes will not apply to convictions relating to serious sexual, violent or terrorist offences.

The following proposed reductions have been put forward:

  • custodial sentences of up to 1 year will become ‘spent’ after 12 months without reoffending
  • convictions between 1 and 4 years will become ‘spent’ after 4 crime-free years
  • sentences of over 4 years will not need to be automatically disclosed to employers where there has been a 7-year period of rehabilitation
  • if an individual re-offends during their rehabilitation period, they will need to disclose both the original and subsequent offences to potential employers, ‘for the duration of whichever rehabilitation period is longer’