Minimum disclosure period for ex-offenders cut to two years

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.

By Paul Nelson

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