Disclosing criminal convictions

Find out what information individuals have to disclose to us about criminal convictions.

England and Wales

Where the law of England and Wales applies, spent and unspent criminal convictions (other than a protected conviction) and spent and unspent cautions (other than a protected caution) must be disclosed. To determine whether your conviction or caution is protected, refer to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

You should disclose a conviction if any of the following apply:

  • it is a listed offence
  • you received a custodial sentence or sentence of service detention
  • you have been convicted of other offences in addition to those that do not fit the above circumstances
  • if you were under 18 at the time of conviction and less than 5 years and 6 months have passed
  • if you were over 18 at the time of conviction and less than 11 years have passed

You should disclose a caution if any of the following apply:

  • it was a listed offence
  • you were under 18 at the time of the caution and less than 2 years have passed since the caution date
  • you were over eighteen at the time of the caution and less than 6 years have passed

Listed offences include serious violent and sexual offences and must be disclosed. You should refer to article 2 paragraph 2A (5)(a)-(n) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2013) for the full definition of ‘listed offences’.

Northern Ireland

Where Northern Ireland law applies under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2014, spent and unspent criminal convictions and cautions must be disclosed.

Scotland

Where the law of Scotland applies under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2013, spent and unspent convictions must be disclosed.

Disclosures concerning spent alternatives to prosecution are not required. 

How we consider fitness and propriety

Each applicant’s fitness and propriety is judged on its merits, and we will not speculate on an outcome. Our assessment will look at:

  • whether the candidate has been open with us and disclosed all relevant matters
  • the seriousness of the issue and its relevance to the specific role applied for
  • time since the issue occurred
  • whether the issue relates to an isolated incident or a pattern of adverse behaviour is discernible

If we are told something which suggests an individual might not be fit and proper, we will consider its relevance and importance. We will consider the full circumstances of each case before deciding. If we have concerns, we will give you a Warning Notice.

This sets out these concerns and gives you the opportunity to write to us or discuss in person before we make a decision.