The Key provides tools and services to education leaders. Unlock worked with The Key on their new guidance on asking about criminal records.
Following the introduction of the GDPR, The Key took legal advice on how schools should collect criminal records information. As most roles in schools are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, enhanced DBS (with or without barring list checks) is the norm. This hasn’t changed. What has changed is The Key’s advice on collecting self-disclosure information from applicants.
Many schools ask about criminal records on application forms and ask candidates to bring a written disclosure which may be discussed at interview. The Key received legal advice that this is likely to be considered excessive data collection, as successful candidates will be required to undergo DBS checks. Their advice now is that schools recruiters should NOT ask applicants to disclose at any stage before an offer is made. In essence, schools should follow Ban the Box principles.
Following an offer, the preferred candidate should complete the relevant level of DBS check and any disclosure should form the basis of a discussion before a final decision is made. In collaboration with Unlock, The Key have published detailed guidance on how to go about discussing a disclosure with a candidate.
Unless a person is barred from regulated activity, there is no legal reason why a criminal record would prevent their employment. Working with Unlock, The Key have produced detailed guidance for schools on how to assess criminal records information.
The Key is a subscription service but we will soon be publishing an adapted version of the guidance for use by schools recruiters here.
Read more on our whether schools should ask applicants to self-disclose