The Government has proposed an amendment on 09/07/20, which would mean minor and youth convictions do not have to be disclosed to employers.
If this amendment is passed in to law, then people who have a minor conviction when they were a child, can apply for jobs knowing their past convictions will not be brought up via checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
In January 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that minor and youth convictions should not be disclosed, as it breaches the human rights of children who receive cautions, as it prevents the child from rehabilitating.
In this case in 2019, P and Others v SSHD & SSJ the Government was defeated in the Supreme Court. As one of the claimants explained how she struggled to get a job as a teaching assistant due to two offences. Shoplifting a sandwich and a book costing 99p whilst suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia.
This law would overturn the “multiple conviction” rule, which means a person must disclose to employers if they have more than one conviction. Despite the extent of the conviction.
Victoria Atkins, minister for safeguarding, believes this move would help to increase ex-offenders’ employability. This amendment could take away any minor offences from their past that could impact their future.
Ms Atkins said:
By making these adjustments, we will ensure that vulnerable people are protected from dangerous offenders while those who have turned their lives around or live with the stigma of convictions from their youth are not held back.
In a letter to Unlock a charity for people with criminal records from Ms Atkins and Chris Philp minister for Immigration Compliance and the courts, explained that if this motion is turned in to law it will “amend the disclosure (filtering) rules that mandate which convictions and cautions must be disclosed for certain sensitive roles.”
“The draft orders will amend the relevant provisions of the Police Act 1997 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.” Employees will no longer have to disclose:
- Youth reprimands and warnings (an out of court disposal issued to under 18s. These were replaced by youth cautions in 2013)
- All convictions where a person has more than one conviction (convictions which are for offences specified on a list of serious offences, which received a custodial sentence, or unspent convictions will continue to be disclosed under other rules).
Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, said:
We welcome the Government’s intention to fully comply with the Supreme Court ruling on filtering. Unlock intervened in that vital case because we know thousands of people are unnecessarily anchored to their past due to an arbitrary regime which forces the disclosure of old and irrelevant information.
However, we are still left with a criminal records system where many people with old and minor criminal records are shut out of jobs that they are qualified to do… The Government’s plan for jobs should include a wider review of the criminal records disclosure system to ensure all law-abiding people with criminal records are able to move on into employment and contribute to our economic recovery.