Criminal record checks relaxed for social care recruits

Minor offences and cautions will be removed from records after a period of time, says government in response to court ruling.

Minister Lord Taylor, who announced the change (Credit: Geoff Moore/Rex Features)

The government has relaxed criminal record checks for people wanting to work with children and young adults.

The legislation, laid in Parliament today, will mean that minor offences will be filtered from checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service. It follows a Court of Appeal ruling earlier this year that ruled that blanket checks did not comply with human rights laws.

Cautions received by adults will be filtered from records after a period of six years. Cautions and equivalents administered to a young offender will be filtered after two years.

A conviction received as a young offender resulting in a non-custodial sentence will be filtered from criminal record checks after a period of 5.5 years. An adult conviction resulting in a non-custodial sentence will be filtered after a period of 11 years.  A conviction will only be filtered if there is no other offence on the individual’s record.

Serious violent and sexual offences, offences with a custodial sentence and multiple offences regardless of their nature will not be subject to change and will remain on checks.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, minister for criminal information, said: This new system of checks strikes a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into people’s lives.”

The new checking system is due to be implemented within weeks following Parliamentary scrutiny.

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