Government introduces shorter timescales for convictions becoming spent

11 May 2014
Government introduces shorter timescales for convictions becoming spent

From 10 March 2014, the government is reducing the time that it takes for a conviction to become "spent", as part of a move to help ex-offenders into employment and to reduce re-offending.

The changes take effect retrospectively so that all individuals with previous convictions will be considered in line with the new, more generous rules.

A list of the relevant periods by conviction type is summarised at

Going forward, the government intends to also make changes to the Data Protection Act 1998, so that it will be a criminal offence for employers to require staff to declare spent criminal convictions, subject to existing exceptions for the purpose of Disclosure and Barring (DBS) checks.

Employers should ensure that they only requests details on a person's spent convictions, where they are entitled to do so in virtue of the individual's role, typically by collecting a DBS check.

Comprehensive guidance on the changes is available from

For further information on DBS checks, see the Safeguarding section of HRBird.

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