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Which cautions and convictions will be removed from a standard or enhanced DBS? – A brief guide

In July 2020 the government announced plans to change the rules of what is disclosed on (and removed from) standard or enhanced criminal record checks issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in response to a Supreme Court ruling in 2019. The changes came into effect on 28 November 2020. This brief guide explains what those changes mean. Find out more about the changes here.

What information can be removed from standard or enhanced DBS checks?

Some cautions and spent convictions can become ‘protected’. Once protected, they are ‘filtered’, meaning they won’t be disclosed on standard or enhanced DBS checks.

Filtered cautions and convictions do not appear on a standard or enhanced DBS check. However, they are not ‘removed’ or ‘wiped’ from police records.

  • If you’re applying for a job or role that involves a standard or enhanced DBS check, cautions and convictions that are filtered won’t be included on results of the check.
  • If you’re carrying out a standard or enhanced DBS check as an organisation, you should be clear to applicants that they do not have to disclose any cautions or convictions that are filtered and you must ignore any filtered cautions/convictions if you become aware of them.

What are the key changes?

There are two main changes to the current rules that happened in November 2020:

  1. Reprimands, final warnings and youth cautions are no longer disclosed: Regardless of the offence, reprimands, final warnings and youth cautions are no longer disclosed on any DBS check.
  2. Multiple convictions can be filtered – Provided the offence is eligible and didn’t lead to a suspended or actual prison sentence, convictions can now be filtered from standard and enhanced DBS checks after the relevant time period has passed, even if there is more than one conviction or offence on record.

What is staying the same?

  1. The list of offences – the “offence rule” – The list of offences that cannot be filtered has not changed. Read our list of common offences that can be filtered here. The full list of offences that cannot be filtered, published by the DBS, can be found here.
  2. Prison sentences – the “sentence rule”– Convictions that resulted in a prison sentence (or suspended sentence) cannot be filtered.
  3. The time periods – The time periods before adult cautions and spent convictions can be removed remain the same.

These changes apply to what is disclosed for jobs and roles that involve a standard or enhanced DBS check. The rules for what is disclosed on basic criminal record checks are set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA). Basic checks show unspent convictions. Once a conviction is spent, it will not be disclosed on a basic check. Read our guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Examples of how the new rules will affect existing criminal records

Marcus was a teenager when convicted of 6 offences of theft between 1992 and 1994. Under the new rules these will no longer be disclosed on standard or enhanced DBS checks as the convictions happened more than 6 years ago, when Marcus was under 18.

Sasha was convicted of 4 counts of benefit fraud in May 2012, when she was 31. Under the new rules, these will be removed from standard or enhanced DBS checks in May 2023, 11 years after Sasha was convicted as an adult.

Anita received a reprimand for arson at age 11, and a final warning for ABH at age 14. The new rules mean reprimands and final warnings, issued to under 18s and since replaced by youth cautions, will never be disclosed on standard and enhanced checks, regardless of the offence.

Lenny was convicted of ABH at age 14. He received a youth referral order. His conviction will continue to be disclosed on standard or enhanced checks because he was convicted of an offence that is on the list of offences that cannot be filtered.

Kyle accepted a youth caution for common assault in 2001, when he was 16. He was convicted of drug possession in 2010 when he was 25 and paid a fine. His youth caution will never be disclosed on standard or enhanced checks. His conviction for drug possession will be removed from checks in 2021 – 11 years after the date of conviction.

Abdi was convicted of drink driving in 2009 when he was an adult – he was disqualified and paid a fine. Three years later, he was convicted of drink driving again and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year. Abdi’s first conviction will be removed from a standard or enhanced DBS check this year, 11 years after he was convicted. His second conviction will always be disclosed because he received a suspended prison sentence.

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  1. I have a conviction from December 2013. When will my conviction be removed from my DBS?? Both standard and Enhanced.

    1. Hi AG

      Depending on the sentence you received, it is likely that your conviction would now be considered spent and would no longer appear on a basic DBS certificate.

      Providing your conviction did not result in a prison sentence or a suspended sentence and does not appear on the DBS list of offences which will never be filtered, your conviction would be removed from your standard or enhanced DBS certificate after 11 years (December 2024). You can find the DBS list of offences at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-list-of-offences-that-will-never-be-filtered-from-a-criminal-record-check.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

        1. Hi Andy

          NFA’s are never disclosed in the main body of a standard or enhanced DBS checks. It would only be disclosed under the ‘additional information’ section of an enhanced DBS check if the police believed it was relevant to the job you were applying for.

          Best wishes

          Debbie

    2. I have a suspended sentence for ‘Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice’ dating back to 1996. Will this always stay on my DBS record?

      1. Hi Jane

        As you may be aware, your conviction is now considered ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and would no longer appear on a basic DBS certificate.

        Unfortunately, because the conviction resulted in a suspended prison sentence it would always be disclosed on a standard and enhanced DBS.

        Best wishes

        Debbie

      1. Hi Marie

        Your simple caution wouldn’t appear on a basic DBS check as it’s spent immediately. It would stay on a standard and enhanced DBS certificate for at least 6 years (unless you were under the age of 18 when you received the caution in which case it would immediately be removed from these checks too).

        Best wishes

        Debbie

  2. Hi I got arrested about 9 years ago think it got put down as aggressive and dangerous behaviour I went to court and got issued with 6 months good behaviour I did the good behaviour and went back to court got no further action as I behaved in the 6 months will this show on enhanced DBS

    1. Hi Sarah

      All convictions remain on an enhanced DBS certificate for a minimum of 11 years. However, depending on the offence you were convicted of and the legislation you were convicted under, some conviction can be filtered (removed) from standard and enhanced DBS certificates after 11 years. Offences which can never be filtered appear on the DBS list of non-filterable offences which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-list-of-offences-that-will-never-be-filtered-from-a-criminal-record-check.

      If you are unsure as to the legislation you were convicted under then I’d definitely recommend getting a copy of your police record. You can do this by applying for a Subject Access Request from the ACRO Criminal Records Office – https://www.acro.police.uk/Subject-Access-Online.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  3. Hello
    I received a prison sentence for 8 weeks it has now been over 10 years
    Will it still come on dbs after 11 years
    Also after 11 years will it become spent as per rehabilitation offenders 1974 1975 job application and not have to state it

    1. Hi Abdullah

      Your conviction from 10 years ago which resulted in an 8 week prison sentence is now deemed ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). It will no longer appear on a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate and would not need to be disclosed to an employer.

      If however you are applying for a job which is exempt from the ROA and which requires either a standard or enhanced DBS certificate then your conviction will always appear on these types of DBS certificate.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

      1. I’m how do I go about having my convictions taken off my DBS they happened 37 years ago and yet they still show up

        1. Hi Maxine

          In order for me to provide you with accurate information can I ask for some further information. (1) What level of DBS check are you referring to? (2) What were you convicted of? (3) What sentence or disposal were you given in court? If you would prefer to email me with the information, the email address is advice@unlock.org.uk.

          Best wishes

          Debbie

  4. Hi,
    Am I correct in thinking that regardless of time, if you got a suspended sentence, it will never be removed from your DBS.
    I think I understand the spent and unspent rule. 6 years after a suspended sentence less then 36 months it becomes spent. But even after 11 years it will still remain!?
    I’m confused because the actions from 12+ years ago do not always reflect the person you are now.

    1. Hi Sarah

      Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), any prison or suspended sentence of less than 48 months will become spent at some point. Once spent, it will no longer appear on a basic DBS certificate and will not need to be disclosed to any employer.

      If however you are applying for a job which is exempt from the ROA (jobs requiring a standard or enhanced DBS) then the filtering rules will apply. As you will have read, some convictions can be filtered from standard/enhanced DBS certificates providing (a) 11 years have passed; (b) the offence is not one which appears on the DBS list of non-filterable offences and (c) they did not result in a prison sentence or suspended sentence. Sadly, as your conviction resulted in a suspended sentence, it will never be removed from a standard and enhanced DBS certificate.

      Just because your conviction will be disclosed on these types of DBS certificate doesn’t mean that you can’t apply for these types of jobs. You’ll need to disclose the conviction and an employer should then carry out an appropriate assessment to reassure themselves that you pose no risk to any vulnerable groups.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

      1. Thank you Debbie for confirming that. I have been refused to become a foster parent due to the fact that I have spent convictions of theft from 2006. I can see no reason why this should be a problem as it was an isolated incident and is not on the list of offences that restrict application. I never hid the information and 8 months into the process it became an issue. I don’t know where I stand.

        1. Hi Sarah

          Sadly we see too many employers or agencies use DBS checks as a pass or fail (i.e. you only pass if you have a ‘clean’ DBS certificate) rather than a measure that can assist in safe recruitment. It’s sad that this organisation have chosen to refuse somebody who has been upfront and honest about their past and has had a clean record for almost 20 years.

          Don’t give up on your dream of being a foster parent – either try to appeal this employers decision or apply somewhere else.

          Wishing you the very best of luck.

          Debbie

          1. I Hello,

            I was convicted in august of 2017 of robbery aged 16 at the time, but the offence occurred when I was 15. I am wondering if this conviction will ever be filtered under the current rulessince the i was a minor and the sentence was non custodial. .

          2. Hi Said

            It is more than likely that your conviction is now considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). This means that you will no longer need to disclose it to the majority of employers and it will no longer appear on your basic DBS certificate.

            Some convictions given to individuals under the age of 18 can be filtered from standard and enhanced DBS certificates after a period of 5.5 years providing the conviction does not result in a prison sentence or suspended sentence and it does not appear on the DBS list of offences which will never be eligible for filtering. Unfortunately, robbery is a non-filterable offence and your conviction therefore will continue to appear on standard and enhanced DBS checks.

            Best wishes

            Debbie

  5. My last comment was deleted so I shall repeat my question – I have a fixed penalty notice for driving without insurance which meant 6 points and a fine of £300. Please can you tell mme if that would show on an enhanced or standard DBS check? Thank you.

    1. Hi Frank

      Fixed penalty notices do not appear in the main body of a standard or enhanced DBS certificate. They could be disclosed under the ‘additional information’ section of an enhanced DBS if the police believed it were relevant to the job you were applying for. However, this is incredibly unlikely. You can find further information regarding FPN’s at https://unlock.org.uk/advice/penalty-notice/.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  6. Hello unlock

    Dont know if my previous post was posted.

    I recived a youth caution in 2020 when i was 15 for carrying a firearm with no intent.
    I have a dbs enhanced check coming up for an admin at a childrens centre.
    Would my youth caution show up.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Adam

      Following the changes to the filtering rules in November 2020, I can confirm that your youth caution would immediately be filtered (removed) from a standard and enhanced DBS check. Therefore, irrespective of the type of job you are applying for, you wouldn’t need to disclose the caution to an employer and it won’t appear on any level of DBS certificate.

      Good luck with your new job.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  7. Hello,
    I received a caution for theft by employee in 2013 and want to apply for a teaching role. Will this show on my enhanced dbs. So scared that one stupid incident has clouded my life. Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Sead

      I can confirm that your caution would now be filtered (removed) from your enhanced DBS certificate and wouldn’t need to be disclosed for any teaching positions.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  8. Hi, I have a 1981 conviction for shoplifting when I was 17. I am applying for a job with the German PostOffice ( I now live in Germany), and it has come up on my good conduct report. I have applied for this report a few times in the past for different things and it has never come up before. I thought it had been scrubbed. Can I apply to have this removed. Many thanks, Paul

    1. Hi Paul

      Not sure why this conviction has suddenly appeared on your good conduct report when it hasn’t in the past. I wonder if the relevance of the conviction is considered when the good conduct report is produced? Even if it is, it would be hard to imagine how a conviction from 40 years ago would be relevant.

      It does state that the German certificate of good conduct will contain “information on entries in the criminal record of the member state of origin”. Unfortunately, conviction information held on the Police National Computer (PNC) is retained until you reach the age of 100. There is no mechanism in place for the information to be deleted.

      Really sorry that I’m not able to give you a more positive response.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  9. Hi,

    Does a youth caution need to be declared as a spent conviction in an army medic application that requires an enhanced dbs?

    Regards

    1. Hi M

      Youth cautions are spent immediately under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act as well as being filtered immediately from standard and enhanced DBS checks. Therefore irrespective of the job role you are applying for, you never have to disclose the caution.

      Good luck with your army medic application.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  10. I have a common assult charge from 6 years ago, I received 100 hrs community service, what’s my status with dbs check, filter, etc

    1. Hi there

      I can confirm that your conviction is now considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) and would no longer appear on a basic DBS check. Therefore when you’re applying for the majority of jobs you won’t need to disclose your conviction to an employer.

      If you are applying for a job which requires either a standard or enhanced DBS check then your conviction will appear on these certificates for a period of 11 years (from the date of conviction). Therefore if you were applying for these types of jobs right now, you would have to disclose and an employer would be entitled to take your conviction into consideration when making a recruitment decision. However, in approximately 5 years time it will be filtered (removed) from these types of DBS check.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  11. I have a conviction for GBH from 2010 and want to train to be a midwife will this effect my chances of training and becoming a midwife

    1. Hi Kerry

      Unless you have been placed on one of the DBS barred lists there is nothing stopping you from training as a midwife.

      As you are probably aware, when you are applying to university for the midwifery course, the university will carry out an enhanced DBS check and, unfortunately, due to the nature of your conviction it is not eligible for filtering and will remain on the certificate. The university will usually invite you to provide them with further information regarding the conviction which will allow them to carry out a proper risk assessment. They will take into consideration the nature of the offence, how long ago it was and whether it was a one-off or part of a pattern of offending behaviour. They will also look at whether the conviction would stop you from registering with the NMC and whether they would have any difficulty in finding you work placements.

      You’ll find further information about working in the healthcare sector at https://unlock.org.uk/advice/working-in-healthcare/.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

    2. Hi i had a caution in 2014 when I was 15 year old for fraud /Robbery I’m now 24

      Will this show on an enhanced dbs check? I’m so worried when applying for jobs 😞

      1. Hi Dan

        I can confirm that your caution from 2014 would have been filtered (removed) from your enhanced DBS certificate in 2020. This means that irrespective of the job you are applying for, it will never appear on a DBS certificate and wouldn’t need to be disclosed to an employer.

        Best wishes

        Debbie

  12. Hi

    I have already posted this but it seems to have disappeared, so apologies if it appears twice.

    I have an enhanced DBS certificate from 2018 which shows the following:

    2005 – conviction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 s2(1) and s2 (2) – compensation of £260 was paid

    2005 – conviction under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 s1(1) – conditional discharge of 2 years and compensation of £700 paid.

    Could you please confirm whether these offences would still show if I applied for a new enhanced DBS certificate?

    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Kate

      Pleased to confirm that following the changes made to the filtering rules in November 2020, both of these convictions will now be filtered from your enhanced DBS certificate.

    1. Hi Stan

      If you were under 18 when you received your caution then it will be filtered (removed) immediately from your standard/enhanced DBS certificate. If you were over 18 then it would be filtered after 6 years.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  13. I was arrested for cocaine possession (personal use – under 1g) in 2008. I didn’t go to court, just a 1-hour talk with a drugs councillor

    As I understand it, this charge would not appear on a Standard or Enhanced DBS Certificate.

    Would the charge still appear on a police ACRO check?

    I need to provide the following for a visa:

    “A letter of verification issued from the country of his or her nationality or residence stating that the applicant has no criminal record”

    Is a DBS check sufficient?

    Thanks.