Employers could soon find it difficult to access the criminal records of prospective staff for offences that happened more than two years ago.
Delegates at the CIPD Parole to Payroll seminar heard that plans being considered as part of a government review of criminal record disclosure could result in the minimum period being cut from six to two years.
The review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act will take into account concerns that ex-offenders could struggle to find jobs following the introduction of the Criminal Records Bureau, giving employers easy access to the criminal records of all job applicants.
Sue Jago, leader of the Home Office review of the ROA, told delegates that reducing the minimum disclosure period made sense because if an ex-offender had not committed a crime for two years they were unlikely to offend again.
She said: “New disclosure periods will reflect the period in which an ex-offender is most likely to offend.
“If a former offender has not re-offended in two years then they are less likely to do so.”
Jago confirmed that the 10-year disclosure period for ex-offenders with violent and sexual convictions and for jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable adults, are unlikely to change.
“The move may seem alarming to employers but we do not want organisations to take undue risks," she said.
“If an individual is not suitable for employment then during that high risk period you are entitled to all the information.”
Currently only employers which take on staff responsible for children or vulnerable adults can use the CRB's disclosure service to check criminal records but soon every employer will be able to use its service.
All companies will be able to ask job applicants to apply for the minimum level of disclosure, known as basic, which will include details of recorded offences over the past six years.