If you have a criminal record, it is important for you to understand and be confident in knowing when and how to disclose this information when applying for jobs.
Do you have to disclose?
Legally you only have to disclose your criminal record if it is still ‘unspent’, your employer asks you to or if you are applying for a specific role.
After being convicted or cautioned, this information stays on your record for a specific amount of time. The length of time will depend on the type of punishment or sentence you received, and your record remains ‘unspent’.
After the allocated amount of time passes, most convictions or cautions then become ‘spent’. This means they are no longer on your basic criminal record and will only show up on more detailed DBS checks.
Some roles require the disclosure of a criminal record even if it is ‘spent’ and employers can carry out enhanced DBS checks. Examples of where this occurs include jobs within healthcare or working with children.
When is the best time?
Every employer uses different recruitment methods, so the best time to disclose may not be the same in every case. Generally, the ideal time to disclose your criminal record is when you are asked.
When you are applying for a role, it is always a good idea to draw up a disclosure statement. You can either give it to the employer as a written statement or disclose your criminal record verbally. Whichever way is most appropriate, it is always best to have something prepared, so you know what you are going to say.
It is recommended that you give a brief explanation of your conviction and if appropriate the circumstances you found yourself within. It is also beneficial to reassure the employer that you are no longer a risk and include any other employment or voluntary experience that can help to demonstrate this.
By law, employers are not allowed to refuse you a role because you have a spent conviction or caution unless it means you are unsuitable for the job.