The Home Office has announced that old and minor cautions will no longer appear on criminal records checks undertaken by employers in England and Wales.
Currently, the system discloses all convictions and cautions, which are then revealed to potential employers.
The changes follow a Court of Appeal ruling in January that blanket checks did not comply with human rights laws.
Under the proposed legislation, convictions resulting in a non-custodial sentence will be filtered from record checks after 11 years for adults and five and a half years for young offenders.
In addition, cautions will be filtered from record checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau, after six years for adults and two years for young offenders.
The changes will affect workers and volunteers who apply for jobs that require a check by the DBS, including teachers, nurses, doctors and care-home workers.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Minister for Criminal Information, said:
“The protection of children and vulnerable groups is of paramount importance to this Government.
“Criminal records checks are an important tool for employers to use in making informed safeguarding decisions.
“This new system of checks strikes a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into people’s lives.”
All serious violent and sexual offences will continue to be disclosed.
This new checking system is due to be implemented within weeks, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.