Although many roles in a school are covered by an exception order requiring individuals to declare any convictions, there are still a few roles that may fall within the Rehabilitation of Offenders regulations. There are over 1 million convictions per year so it is likely, at some point, that managers will come across applicants or existing staff who have convictions. Are your managers aware of the changes to spent offences including those for which the periods have been reduced significantly?
For a summary of when offences become spent for the purposes of applying for employment or insurance or similar, there is:
- an article on our HR Management Dimensions blog explaining the changes; [Editor’s note – link to be updated]
- a table summarising the main periods for spent convictions, fines etc which is available on our main web site. [Editor’s note – link to be updated]
Both can be shared with your managers provided the full source is acknowledged.
Primary Schools – Non Disclosure Protection for Others in the Same Household
There is a further point that schools need to bear in mind. Staff who are looking after children (i.e. in a childcare role) do not have to declare spent convictions or cautions etc. of other individuals who live or work in the same household as the member of staff. The proviso is that those convictions are actually spent in which case the Rehabilitation of Offenders regulations apply and disclosure is not required by the member of staff.
This provision is sometimes known as ‘disqualification by association’. The DfE amended its guidance in February of this year  to emphasise that disclosure should not be required.
Child Care Staff Covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Regulations
The following roles are protected by the above regulations re non disclosure of spent offences:
- Early years provision up to and including reception class whether during or outside of school hours;
- Child care up to the age of 8 provided out of school hours ;
- Senior leaders or managers directly involved in the management of early or later years child care provision and that includes volunteers or casual workers concerned with the above.
Staff are still required to disclose any one living or working in their household whose conviction is not spent or whose name appears on the DBS Children’s Barred List.
Heads and Governors should note that schools should not retain information about convictions that is not relevant to an individual’s employment or for an offence that has been spent.
Sources:  Disqualification Under the Childcare Act 2006 – DfE Statutory Guidance, Feb 2015.
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