New Legislation Reduces Disclosure Timeframes for Criminal Convictions: What Employers Need to Know
Employees are legally required to inform employers of any criminal convictions that are unspent, but a recent update in the law now means that convictions become spent after a shorter time.
The new legislation, Section 193 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into force on 28 October 2023, reducing the period employees are required to declare criminal convictions.
What are the new timeframes?
The new timeframes that employees, who were aged 18 at the time of the conviction, are required to declare criminal convictions are shown below. If the offender was under 18 at the time of the offence, the timeframes required to disclose the conviction is slightly reduced.
Type of conviction
Previous length of time required to disclose
New length of time required to disclose
|Custodial sentence of over 4 years||Never spent||7 years although certain offences are exempt and never spent including those classed as ‘serious violent, sexual and terrorism offences’|
|Custodial sentence of 2 ½ years - 4 years||7 years||4 years|
|Custodial sentence of 1 - 2 ½ years||4 years||4 years|
|Custodial sentence of 6 months - 1 year||4 years||1 year|
|Custodial sentence of up to six months||2 years||1 year|
What do employers need to do?
Many employers already ask employees to declare whether they have any unspent convictions, which should legally be disclosed, anyway. Following the recent update, employers should ensure that any forms and/or systems used to record criminal convictions now have the correct time periods.
The new timeframes will not impact roles where a basic or enhanced DBS is required.
If you would like our Employment team's advice on how to deal with criminal convictions, please get in touch.