; Recruitment of Ex Offenders

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 puts in place legislation regarding people that have been convicted of a criminal offence and have not re-offended since. Under certain circumstances, ex-offenders can 'wipe the slate clean' of their criminal record once a period of time has lapsed from the date of conviction, if the custodial sentence was less than 2.5 years.  Provided they have not been re-convicted for another offence, their conviction is said to become 'spent' and for the purpose of employment it can be treated as though it never existed.  This means that if the ex-offender is asked on an application form, or at an interview, if they have a criminal record they are entitled to answer 'no'.  It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against the ex-offender on grounds of their spent conviction.

However, some types of employment are exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. One of the exemptions is work that involves contact with young people. Therefore, when applying for a post that involves contact with young people, the ex-offenders have to disclose all convictions, spent or otherwise.

The purpose of a Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy is to ensure consistent and fair practices are implemented for the recruitment of staff and volunteers who have a criminal record. Having a criminal record does not automatically make a person unsuitable to work with young people. The Policy should state the sort of details that the organisation needs to consider:

1. Whether the conviction or other matter(s) revealed is relevant to the position in question

2. The seriousness of any offence revealed

3. The length of the time since the offence or other matter(s) occurred

4. Whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour or other relevant matters

5. Whether the applicant's circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or the other relevant matters

Document Icon The use of a Self Declaration Form at the interview stage of volunteer recruitment will allow the applicant to disclose and discuss conviction information, its context and any issues connected with it. This can then be compared to the information contained on the Scheme Record.

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