Many will know of the 2020 amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. However there have been further changes to the legislation effective from October 2023. Please remember the purpose of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is to provide support to ex-offenders in leaving their past behind and enabling them a greater access to employment opportunities. The changes to the ROA are only applicable in England and Wales.
Some rehabilitation periods have been reduced, including:
- Custodial sentences of four years or more for less serious crimes become “spent” after a seven year period of rehabilitation, providing no further offences are committed
- Custodial sentences of more than 1 year and up to 4 years will now become spent 4 years after the end of the sentence
- Custodial sentences of up to 1 year will now become spent 1 year after the end of the sentence
- Community Orders and Youth Rehabilitation Orders will now become spent on the last day of the order.
Offences of a serious sexual, violent, or terrorist nature are excluded from these changes to ensure this does not result in an increased risk to the public.
But what does this mean for the Education Sector and Safer Recruitment?
These changes mean that basic checks will show less information as before, due to convictions which were considered “unspent” becoming “spent” in some instances. Whereas, in some limited circumstances, a Standard or Enhanced DBS check may show more information than before. Schools and Academies are still required to assess the individual’s suitability to work with children in line with their Statutory Safeguarding Obligation and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Candidates should not be discriminated against due to their history if disclosed during the application or interview process. Appropriate risk assessments must be carried out where offences are disclosed on a DBS Check and/or by the candidate.
You will need to update your employment application form and any recruitment pack advising a candidate what should and should not be disclosed to a potential employer.
Schools and Academies are not required to re-check all employees, this change in legislation is only applicable for DBS applications made on or after the 28 October 2023.
Further guidance on the potential impact of these changes can be found in the filtering scenario guidance and rehabilitation periods. If you are a customer of our HR services with FusionHR, why not take a look at our updated application form on our Document Downloads and Helpdesk.
Our team of accredited safer recruitment trainers at FusionHR, will also be running a virtual safer recruitment session on Friday 8 December 2023, click to book. For more information please get in touch on 01924 827 869. Learn more about how we can support via our group website, Fusion Education People Solutions.