Human Resources

3.0    Guidance

3.1    Background Information

The DBS was established on 1st December 2012 following the merger of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) which was responsible for issuing ‘barring decisions’ where an individual was deemed ‘unfit’ to work with vulnerable groups and subsequently placed on a disclosable register and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). The CRB provided information through criminal records checks on unsuitable applicants for certain roles (involving children and vulnerable adults) to employers. These functions are now the responsibility of the DBS.

3.2    Definitions

3.2.1    Basic Disclosure

Basic disclosures provide information on unspent (current) convictions and should be requested where there is a need to verify information for applicants for posts that are not covered under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions) Order, but where the applicant is being considered for a post where a level of trust is required. For example this might include a post where an individual is handling sensitive and/or personal information such as medical records.

3.2.2    Standard Disclosure

Standard disclosures provide information on unspent (current) and spent (prior) convictions which include cautions, reprimands and final warnings registered on the Police National Computer (PNC) in England and Wales. Recent convictions held in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included. Standard checks are advisable where the post requires the individual to have direct physical contact with vulnerable adults and children on a day to day basis and excludes people who have no direct contact but may have access to records/information on the groups mentioned above. For example this might include Birkbeck’s Nursery manager and officer posts and security guards.

3.2.3    Enhanced Disclosure

Enhanced disclosures include the same information provided under the standard disclosure with the addition of non-conviction information held by local police and information held on the children and adults barred lists where requested (defined as “approved information”). This information can be accessed where the post includes “regulated activity” (see Section 3.2.6)

3.2.4    Satisfactory Check

A satisfactory check is defined as either having no criminal convictions e.g. cautions, reprimands and final warnings or where criminal convictions have been disclosed they have been risk assessed by the College and reviewed alongside other information and deemed not relevant to the applicant’s suitability for the post.

3.2.5    Spent and Unspent Convictions

3.2.5.1    Spent Convictions

A “spent” conviction under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 can effectively be ignored after a specified rehabilitation time without re-offending. The amount of time for rehabilitation depends on the sentence imposed and not the offence. Rehabilitation periods are as follows:

  • A sentence of imprisonment, detention in a young offender’s institution or youth custody or corrective training for a term exceeding 6 months but not exceeding 30 months has a rehabilitation period of 10 years. A sentence of imprisonment, detention in a young offender’s institution or youth custody or corrective training for a term not exceeding 6 months has a rehabilitation period of 7 years.
  • A fine or any other sentence not being a sentence to which an order discharging a person absolutely, a conditional charge, binding over to keep the peace, probation, or an order imposing any disqualification, disability, prohibition or other penalty relates has a rehabilitation period of 5 years.
  • An order discharging a person absolutely will have a rehabilitation period of 6 months from the date of conviction.
  • Conditional discharge, binding over to keep the peace has a rehabilitation period of 1 year from the date of conviction or a period beginning with that date and ending when the order for conditional discharge or the recognisance or be of good behaviour ceases or ceased to have effect, whichever is the longer.
  • Probation has a rehabilitation period, in the case of a person aged 18 years or over at the date of their conviction, of 5 years from the date of conviction.
  • An order imposing any disqualification, disability, prohibition or other penalty has a rehabilitation period from the date of conviction and ending on the date on which the disqualification, disability, prohibition or penalty ceases or ceased to have effect.
  •  In general, where more than one sentence is imposed in respect of a conviction and the rehabilitation periods applicable would differ, then the rehabilitation period applicable shall be longer or longest of those periods. There are certain sentences excluded from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which are never considered as “spent”. These are:
    • A sentence of life imprisonment,

    • A sentence of protective detention,

    • A sentence of imprisonment, youth custody or corrective training for a term exceeding 30 months.

There is a list of jobs and professions for which it is lawful to reject a person for employment on the grounds of a “spent” conviction. When making an application for one of the excluded job categories, job applicants are obliged to disclose all convictions, whether or not they are “spent”. The College may also take a view about whether some roles are high risk and a criminal record check may be sought.

3.2.5.2    Unspent Conviction

A conviction is described as “Unspent” if the rehabilitation period associated with it has not yet lapsed and the conviction is current. For the majority of roles during the recruitment process the College will normally only ask about “unspent” convictions as defined within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

3.2.6    Regulated Activity

The definition of regulated activity in this context refers to any activity where an individual engages in work or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults in the following areas:

3.2.5.6.1    Regulated Activity Relating to Children

The general definition of regulated activity relating to children consists of:

  1.  Teaching, training or instruction;
  2. Caring for or supervising of children;
  3. Advice or guidance for children;
  4. Work for certain establishments, with opportunity for contact e.g. schools and childcare premises. (excluding work by supervised volunteers)
  5. Relevant personal care and;
  6. Registered childminding.

Work under 1 or 2 is regulated activity only if done on a regular basis;

3.1.6.2    Regulated Activity Relating to Adults

The general definition of regulated activity relating to adults consists of:

  1.  The provision of healthcare by, or under the direction or supervision of, a health care professional;
  2. Providing social care;
  3. Providing personal care;
  4.  Providing social work;
  5. Assisting with cash, bill and/or bills;
  6. Assisting an individual to conduct their own affairs and;
  7. Conveying (transporting adults from their homes or other places to locations to receive health, personal or social care, excludes taxi drivers, family and friends).

3.2.7    Referrals

Please note that the College may make a referral to DBS if it believes that any individual has engaged in any conduct which could endanger or harm a child or vulnerable adult at any time, including if an investigation is ongoing when an individual leaves the College.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email: humanresources@bbk.ac.uk