Midlands university risks carrying out ineligible checks

Lawrence contacted us about a post advertised at a university in the Midlands. The job, Head of Business Programmes, involved working with departments within the university and developing relationships with external partners. Lawrence was surprised then to see that the job description said the post would involve an enhanced DBS check. It wasn’t clear why […]

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A question of fairness: John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) includes Waitrose and John Lewis. Their online application form asks applicants to indicate whether they have an unspent conviction. The question is compulsory. Selecting ‘Yes’ from the drop-down menu leads to the request for details. The application doesn’t explain why this information is necessary, or what will happen to it. […]

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A question of fairness: Greggs

Greggs’ Fresh Start programme has been running since 2012, and they say they have employed one hundred people with previous convictions and that 32% now hold some form of a Management role. The Fresh Start programme recruits people who are in prison and eligible to work outside on ROTL, and is also open to people […]

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A question of fairness: Spar

Some applications for retail positions in Spar stores ask about criminal records. We contacted Spar to understand why and the Head of HR confirmed:  …we do not ask applicants questions regarding Criminal Records and we do not need to (given the nature of our work) undertake DBS checks. It’s refreshing to see a retailer assess […]

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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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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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