Using a spent conviction to revoke an employment offer breaches data subject rights

RQT, an IT company based in Wales, required all potential employees to consent to a basic criminal record check being carried out by a DBS Responsible Organisation (RO). As the job was in Wales, the RO should have requested a check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Instead the RO wrongly requested a check […]

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Asking for self-disclosure during recruitment – is it necessary?

Asking applicants to self-disclose criminal records information is seen by most employers as part and parcel of the standard recruitment process. Whether it’s a tick box on the application form or part of pre-employment checks, asking has been the norm. The advent of the GDPR means employers need be clear about the purpose of self-disclosure […]

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Should schools ask applicants to self-disclose criminal records?

This post considers when self-disclosure could (and when it probably shouldn’t) play a role in the recruitment process. ‘Self-disclosure’ in this context means individuals providing an employer with details about their criminal record. This is in contrast to official disclosure, which means carrying out criminal record checks using the appropriate government agency – in England […]

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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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New guidance published to support employers with GDPR, data protection and processing criminal records in recruitment

Today we have published new guidance to support employers to ensure that their policies and practices on collecting criminal records data during recruitment is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The guidance makes it clear that collecting criminal records at the initial application stage is unlikely to be […]

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Cabinet Office call for evidence on employing people with convictions

Does your business recruit people with convictions? Or does your business avoid recruiting anyone with a criminal record? Would support from government make you think again? How about financial incentives – would that encourage you to hire people with a criminal record? The Cabinet Office are calling for evidence on employment for people with convictions, […]

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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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