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Ex-offenders and declaration of convictions

The period of time that those with criminal convictions are required to declare them to employers has been reduced.

From 28 October 2023, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 has been amended to reduce the periods of time after which certain offences become ‘spent’ and need no longer be disclosed to an employer. Previously, some offenders were required to disclose their sentences for the rest of their lives. Now, custodial sentences of four years or less, and of more than four years for some less serious crimes, become ‘spent’ after a period of rehabilitation of up to seven years after the sentence has been served, provided that no further offence is committed in that period. If an individual reoffends during the rehabilitation period, they will have to disclose both their original and subsequent offences to employers for the duration of whichever rehabilitation period is longer.

Those who have committed serious sexual, violent or terrorist offences, however, are excluded from these new rules. Stricter disclosure rules also apply to jobs that involve working with vulnerable people through standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

The new rehabilitation periods are:



 Under 18s

Community order/Youth  Rehabilitation Order

 Last day on which the order has  effect

 Last day on which the order has effect

 Custody of 1 year or less

 1 year

 6 months

Custody of more than 1 year and up to 4 years

 4 years

 2 years

 Custody of more than 4 years*

 7 years

 3½ years

*Excluding serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offences, that continue to never be spent