1. Do we have to ask about criminal records?
  2. When can we ask applicants about their criminal record?
  3. We want to remove the question from our application form and ask later – what should we put on our application form?
  4. We do enhanced DBS checks, does this mean we have to ask at application?
  5. What questions can we ask?
  6. We’ve made an offer, how do we collect information from the candidate?


1. Do we have to ask about criminal records?


2. When can we ask applicants about their criminal record?


3. We want to remove the question from our application form and ask later – what should we put on our application form

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 applicants understand what they’ll be expected to disclose and when.

An application form extract, August 2016


4. We are legally required to do enhanced DBS checks, does this mean we have to ask at application?
  • No – there’s no legal obligation to ask applicants about criminal records at the application stage.
  • Companies that do enhanced DBS checks – including include Choice Support, CRI and SOVA – have signed up to Ban the Box
  • If the role involves regulated activity, you could ask the applicant to confirm at application that they are not barred from working with the relevant vulnerable group. This can be checked as part of the DBS check later in the recruitment process. See our suggested wording under the additional question for type 2 roles.


5. What am I allowed to ask for in terms of criminal records?
  • It’s important that you you are clear about the information you need.
  • There are 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 questions about criminal records [Detailed guidance]


6. We’ve made an offer, how do we collect information from the candidate?
  • You should consider whether to ask the applicant to disclose, or to go ahead with a DBS check and discuss any disclosure when the certificate is received.
  • Self-disclosure is best done in person as it provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and helps an applicant feel they have been treated fairly.
  • If significant information is disclosed, it might be the first stage in an assessment process. If old or minor information is disclosed, an assessment may not be necessary.
  • More information: Asking for self-disclosure of criminal records information (Practical guidance)

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