On all job applications we are required to provide the same general information, i.e. Name, address etc. On most applications you will be asked if you have a criminal record and dependent on the post, a DBS check may be carried out to verify this.

Not all posts and positions require a DBS or basic disclosure, when making the application the organisation must be confident that the post falls in this bracket, and the applicant must give permission for a check to be made, any unnecessary applications made would be deemed unlawful.

In most circumstances a job applicant has no legal obligation to reveal spent convictions. If an applicant has been convicted in the past and that conviction has become spent, the applicant must be treated by the employer as if the conviction has not happened. If the employer refuses to employ a rehabilitated person on the grounds of a spent conviction it is unlawful under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA)1974.

There are certain areas of employment that are exempt under the ROA 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, for which employers may ask about spent convictions. This is known as asking an exempted question. When answering, the applicant would have a legal obligation to reveal spent convictions. Should the applicant make a false statement, intentionally or otherwise, the employer may refuse the application on this basis.

Areas of employment which may fall into this category include but are not limited to, those areas requiring an enhanced DBS (especially any areas involving children and vulnerable adults), Financial organisations, Private vehicle hire individuals, and Healthcare providers.

It should be noted that information on a DBS certificate should only be used where relevant to the advertised position. This is designed to protect applicants from unfair discrimination on the basis of non-relevant past convictions. For example, a conviction of Drink Driving five years ago would not prevent you from working in a retail shop, whereas a conviction of fraud may.
The rules put in place are to protect the most vulnerable, to prevent those who pose a risk to others from working with them and to protect financial institutions from fraudulent activity within their organisations. But also to protect the future of those who may of committed an offence and their ability to build a career and life after this.