- Do I have to ask about criminal records?
- When should we ask applicants about their criminal record?
- We want to remove the question from our application form and ask later – what should we put on our application form?
- Don’t we have to ask at application because we do enhanced DBS checks?
- What am I allowed to ask for in terms of criminal records?
- I’ve offered somebody a job and want to use a form for them to disclose their criminal record?
- For most jobs, whether – and when – to ask about criminal records as part of your recruitment process is up to you.
- For a small number of jobs, a criminal records check is required.
- If you collect criminal records data for recruitment purposes, make sure your policy and approach is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
- More information: Asking the question – Guidance for employers on the GDPR, data protection and the processing of criminal records data in recruitment (Practical guidance)
- It is unlikely that asking all applicants about criminal records is necessary or proportionate
- If you need to ask, we recommend asking at conditional offer of employment stage
- More information: When to ask about criminal records [Detailed guidance]
- More information: Asking for self-disclosure of criminal records information (Practical guidance)
- For organisations looking to Ban the Box from application forms, what to replace it with can be an important question.
- A key principle is to have a clear policy, and your application form is the ideal place to highlight and link to this.
- If the role is classed as regulated activity, you could still ask the applicant to confirm at application that they are not barred from working with the relevant vulnerable group (see below)
Unlock is signed up to the Ban the Box campaign, and on its employee application form has the following section in it:
Criminal record declaration
Please read the following statement – “I understand that, in the event of being offered the position, I will be required to complete a confidential disclosure detailing, at the point of completion, either:
- All offences that are unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, or,
- All convictions and cautions, including those spent, unless filtered.
I understand that I will need to return this disclosure as soon as possible and be prepared to discuss if Unlock feel it is necessary. I understand, too, that a formal disclosure may be sought in the event of a successful application, to confirm the details that I provide. The level of disclosure will depend on whether the role is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which has been made clear in the details of the vacancy.”
Virgin Trains are signed up to the Ban the Box campaign. On their application form, they have a section explaining this (see a copy below) which helps to be really clear to applicants what they’ll be expected to disclose and when.
- No. There’s no generic law that requires employers to ask applicants about criminal records at the application stage.
- Companies that do enhanced DBS checks have signed up to the Ban the Box campaign – these include Choice Support, CRI and SOVA.
- If the role is classed as regulated activity, you could still ask the applicant to confirm at application that they are not barred from working with the relevant vulnerable group. You can do this by asking the applicant at the application stage whether they are barred from working with the relevant group, and this can be checked as part of the DBS check later in the recruitment process. There is suggested wording in the guidance we have on wording of questions, under the additional question for type 2 roles.
- It’s important that, if you’re asking about criminal records, you make sure you are clear about what information you want.
- Generally, there’s two ‘types’ of roles – those ‘covered by the ROA’ and those ‘exempt from the ROA’. The question you can ask will depend on the specific role in question.
- More information: Wording of questions that ask about criminal records [Detailed guidance]
- A criminal record self-disclosure form provides a helpful foundation for understanding and assessing the criminal record of the applicant. If significantly important information is disclosed, it might be the first stage in an assessment process. If old or minor information is disclosed, it might be the end of the assessment process.
- More information: Criminal record self-disclosure forms [Detailed guidance and templates]