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Questions and Answers

Which level of Criminal Record Check is the correct one for our candidate?

The level of Criminal Record Check applicable depends on whether your candidate will be working in a role that is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Standard and Enhanced level checks contain information regarding spent convictions so employers are only allowed to specify these levels of check if the job role is exempt under the Act. Generally those roles involve contact with children, care of the vulnerable, working within law enforcement and the justice system and other regulated industries including healthcare. A full list of job roles exempt under the Act can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service Website. For all job roles not listed in the guidance a Basic Criminal Record Check can be applied for which will provide details of any unspent convictions.

How long does it take for a conviction to become 'spent'?

The rehabilitation period determines how long a conviction is classified as 'unspent'. The rehabilitation period is determined by two factors, firstly, the type of sentence e.g. custodial, fine, community service order etc. and secondly, the age of the individual at the time the sentence was passed. All cautions and convictions eventually become spent with the exception of custodial sentences of over 4 years which never become spent. This page on the HM Government website explains the rehabilitation periods for different types of sentence.

Does Know Your Candidate offer Criminal Records Checks outside of the UK?

No. We only offer checks within the UK. The procedures and timeframes for Criminal Record Checks vary greatly in other countries. This guide on the Security Industry Authority website explains the process for over 50 countries.

What should we do if our candidate has convictions on their disclosure certificate?

Employers should not automatically discriminate against a candidate with convictions on their disclosure certificate. Time should be taken to consider the nature of the offence and the relevance to the job role the individual is applying for. Other factors such as the age of the candidate at the time of conviction; how long ago the conviction was made; whether the conviction was a one-off or part of a pattern of repeat offending and whether the candidate actually declared any unspent convictions on their application should also be considered. NACRO (England and Wales) and Apex Scotland are organisations dedicated to working with ex-offenders and provide advice for employers with regard to recruiting ex-offenders and explaining the convictions/wording that appears on disclosure certificates.

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