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Asking about someone's criminal history

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If you decide it’s relevant to know whether a potential new staff member or volunteer has a criminal record, plus the details of it, remember that:

  • they don’t have to volunteer any information unless you ask for it
  • they should only be asked once they've met other recruitment criteria and after you’ve made them a conditional offer (but before they start in the role)
  • you can use a criminal record self-disclosure form so that people understand how to answer
  • most convictions and all reprimands, cautions and warnings are considered ‘spent’ after a period of time, and in most cases people have a legal right not to disclose them
  • you should have a policy in place for the recruitment of ex-offenders
  • this doesn’t include a subject access request (which is designed to find out any information the police hold about them). You cannot ask this as part of the criminal history check.

More information

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 26 April 2023

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