Asking applicants to self-disclose can be deemed excessive, says ICO

Last month we published research that showed almost three-quarters of employers ask about criminal records at application stage. Being asked to self-disclose puts off applicants. Unlock encourages employers to consider whether they need to ask about criminal records at all. If you need to ask, questions should be targeted – for example, only asking at […]

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Changes to the recruitment process of a hospice whose application form was unclear about what needed to be disclosed

We received a call to our helpline about a hospice who were asking a misleading question about criminal records. The hospice has some jobs that involve regulated activity and they are therefore entitled to ask about cautions and spent convictions, and required to carry out an enhanced DBS check. However, the caller was applying for […]

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Leading charity requesting an ineligible criminal record check for an administrative role

Following an enquiry to our helpline, we became aware that a leading charity were requesting an enhanced DBS check for an office administrator’s role. From the information provided, we were of the opinion that the role would be covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and would only require a basic DBS check. Therefore, by […]

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The role of the Information Commissioners Office with misleading questions on employment application forms

We were contacted recently by an individual who was concerned about a question being asked about criminal records on a builder’s merchant’s application form, which stated: “As part of our standard procedure we require a police check for every employee. Are you prepared to undergo a police check? ☐ Yes ☐ No  Have you ever […]

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Global manufacturer asking misleading questions on their employment application form

We were contacted recently by an individual who had some concerns about the questions that a global manufacturing company were asking about criminal records on their employment application form. The form stated: “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence? (Including motor offences but excluding parking fines) Have you ever received a formal police […]

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Changes to the recruitment process of a cleaning company whose application form was unclear about spent convictions

We were recently pointed towards a large cleaning company that had a question on its application form for a job cleaning commercial offices which stated: “Criminal Record  o Yes      o No” The question didn’t make it clear that an applicant doesn’t need to disclose any spent convictions when applying for a role covered by the […]

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A recruitment agency with a blanket ban on placing people with unspent convictions

We’ve recently been contacted by an individual who wanted some advice following dismissal from his job because he didn’t disclose his unspent criminal record. The individual explained that on release from prison, over 15 years ago, he’d been told by his probation officer that his conviction would become ‘spent’ (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act […]

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Lecturer post in a university not eligible for an enhanced DBS check

We’ve recently worked on a case where a university had stated in a job description for a Lecturer in Criminology that: “The successful applicant will have to undergo a DBS check before an appointment can be made.” Although the job description didn’t specify what level of check, the university confirmed that they would be carrying […]

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Recruiting apprentices in the motoring industry? Make sure you ask the right questions

We’ve recently been advising a large motor manufacturer who was asking a misleading question on their online apprenticeship application form. It stated: “Have you any convictions, including both spent and unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974? If yes, please provide details.” We believed that the apprenticeship role being offered would be […]

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Doing enhanced DBS checks? Make sure you get any questions about criminal records right

We were contacted by an individual who was concerned that a question on an employer’s application form in respect of a job requiring an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks was misleading as it did not provide any guidance around ‘protected’ cautions and convictions. The question on the application form stated: “Criminal Convictions (see guidance […]

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