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Author: Debbie Sadler

Some examples of people we’ve helped

Looking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few examples of the people we’ve helped.

We hope they give a good idea of how we help people.

More importantly, we think that these examples show how people with convictions are able to overcome some of the barriers that have been put in their way due to their criminal record.

We’ve posted the examples below as case studies in the support section of our website:

 

 

Barney – The discrimination I faced by insurers following my conviction was a real eye opener

Hilario – Being clear on disclosure rules allowed me to get settled status in the UK

StephanieHaving failed to get Google to remove links to my name an application to the ICO proved more successful

 

Criminal records webinar Wednesday 12 January 2022

Do you deal with criminal records in your work? You might be helping people with convictions who are applying for jobs, or working in recruitment/HR and making hiring decisions or carrying out DBS checks.  

If any of these apply to you, book a place and join us on Wednesday 12 January 2022 for our webinar on understanding the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and the disclosure of criminal records. 

The criminal records system in England and Wales is complex and often confusing. There are over 11 million people with a criminal record. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is a piece of legislation that sets out when convictions become ‘spent’, and it’s important to know the difference between unspent and spent convictions and when they need to be disclosed.  


When and where?
 

Wednesday 12 January 2022, 2-4pm, Online
(Please join at 1.45pm to begin promptly at 2pm – thank you) 

Price: £49 (if booked before 1 December, normal price £59) 

Price includes a course pack with materials and useful resources which will be sent to you before the webinar. 

Places are limited, so book now to guarantee your place. If you wish to be notified on any future webinars, please email admin@unlockorg.uk 

Who is it for? 

The webinar is aimed at anyone who deals with criminal records in their work. You might be helping people with convictions who are applying for jobs, or you might be working in recruitment/HR and making hiring decisions or carrying on DBS checks. 

What it will cover

  • The levels of DBS criminal record check and what they disclose 
  • How individuals can find out about their criminal record 
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and spent convictions 
  • The filtering rules and protected cautions/convictions 
  • Good practice in asking about criminal records for employment and volunteering 

To find out more and to book, visit our Eventbrite page. 

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If you have any questions, email admin@unlock.org.uk. 

This webinar is part of the training that we provide. 

Monthly summary – July 2021

Welcome to our monthly summary for July 2021.

This provides a summary of:

Have you stumbled across this? You can receive updates to your inbox every month for free by signing up to our mailing list (make sure you choose to receive ‘news for people with convictions’).

Updates to our information site

Here’s a summary of the updates we’ve made to the information hub. There are links within each update to where you can find more information.

Work and volunteering

  • Working in the healthcare sector with a criminal record – We’ve produced some new information which pulls together some of the roles set out in our A-Z list of common occupations and professions.
  • Call for evidence: the DBS Update Service and filtered convictions – We’re interested in hearing from anybody who subscribes to the DBS Update Service, has recently had conviction(s) filtered and has been sent a manual certificate by the DBS.

About criminal records

  • Out of court disposals – We’ve updated this page to reflect the way in which out of court disposals are dealt with following the changes made to the filtering rules in 2020.

Banking

  • Criminal convictions and a history of fraud – Following new information received from CIFAS (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System) we’ve updated this page to highlight the type of data which CIFAS may hold about individuals with fraud convictions.

theRecord posts

Below are links to recent posts to our online magazine, theRecord. These are often linked to the practical information that we have, to help give some personal experiences.

SuccessWhen everyone is included, everyone wins“For the last 10 years I have worked for an organisation which supports people with a criminal record back into work. During the course of my work, I regularly engage with employers trying to get them to recognise the benefits of employing somebody with a criminal record …..”

Struggles and stigmaMy conviction is spent but there’s no end to the ongoing consequences of my criminal record“It’s probably important for me to say at the start that I have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and so writing articles like this is difficult for me. However, I’m going to give it a shot. At the age of 17 I was arrested for the offence of outraging public decency and in February 2019 received a 12-month referral order …..”

NewsHave you been through the criminal justice system? Have you got a story to share? “For over 10 years, our online magazine, theRecord has given people with a criminal record a place to share their stories. Starting out as a monthly newsletter, theRecord has grown a lot since those early days. It shares the experiences of people with cautions and convictions – both good and bad …..”

Discussions on our online forum

Below are links to recent posts on our online forum. If you’d like to join the discussion but are not currently a forum member, find out how you can join here.

NHS job offer – M15788 shares his experience of applying for a job with the NHS and disclosing his criminal record. Have you applied to work in the healthcare sector? How was your application dealt with?

Name change to avoid DBS – What do you think about Labour MP Sarah Champion’s calls for the ‘flagging’ of driving licences and passports for individuals convicted of sexual offences. Let us know your thoughts.

Other news and developments

Below are links to other news and developments that might be of interest to people with a criminal record. For more news, check out the news and media section of our main website.

Some examples of people we’ve helped

Looking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few examples of the people our helpline has helped.

Working in the healthcare sector with a criminal record

Approximately 1 in 10 of the working population work in the health and social care sector with the NHS being the biggest employer in the UK with 1.7 million staff.

With increasing pressure on the NHS and a constant demand for more skilled workers, maybe a career in healthcare is something you are considering?

Individuals working in healthcare will often need to register with a regulatory body, for example the General Medical Council or the Nursing and Midwifery Council. For some the existence of a criminal record will present barriers which will need to be addressed even before you start applying for jobs.

We’ve produced some new information on working in the healthcare sector which pulls together some of the roles set out in our A-Z list of common occupations and professions. It also highlights the possible impact of a criminal record and how the disclosure of a criminal record may be dealt with.

More information

Call for evidence: the DBS Update Service and filtered convictions

Do you have a caution or conviction which is eligible for filtering? Are you signed up to the DBS Update Service?

In November 2020 changes were made to the rules on what is disclosed on (and removed from) standard and enhanced DBS certificates. It is thought that approximately 45,000 people each year will benefit from these changes.

If you’re someone who needs regular standard or enhanced DBS checks then you may have decided to sign up to the DBS Update Service. Indeed, more and more employers are making it a condition of employment that staff members sign up to it.

However, it’s important to note that the filtering of a caution or conviction does not lead to a status change on the Update Service and you would therefore need to apply for a new paper certificate as evidence that your caution/conviction has been filtered (removed).

We’ve recently been made aware that some individuals who have applied for a new paper certificate have been issued with a manual certificate by the DBS which looks slightly different to an automated certificate. Once a manual certificate has been issued, it cannot be used to join the Update Service or added to an existing Update Service subscription.

Individuals who have contacted our helpline have told us that the process for producing a manual certificate takes longer than an automated one and, because it looks slightly different, could potentially alert an employer to the fact that an individual has had a caution or conviction filtered, thereby negating the benefits of the filtering process.

We have previously raised this anomaly with the DBS and were told that it was a temporary problem which had “led to a small increase in the number of manual certificates being issued”.

We are aware that the DBS are working on updating their current system but we believe that with significantly more people benefitting from filtering, it’s likely that many will be affected by this issue. However, we need to see evidence of this before going back to the DBS.

That’s why we need your help.

If you currently subscribe to the Update Service and have a caution or conviction which is now eligible for filtering, we would ask that you:

  • Apply to the DBS for a paper version of your standard/enhanced DBS certificate with your caution/conviction removed; and
  • If you receive a manual certificate from the DBS email us a copy of it to feedback@unlock.org.uk.

Any information sent to us will be treated confidentially and not shared with any third party without your prior consent.

We rely on the evidence we hear from people on the ground to inform our work holding government and institutions to account. Sharing your experiences with us can make a real difference to how laws and policies impact the lives of people with criminal records.

Some examples of people we’ve helped

Looking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few examples of the people we’ve helped.

We hope they give a good idea of how we help people.

More importantly, we think that these examples show how people with convictions are able to overcome some of the barriers that have been put in their way due to their criminal record.

We’ve posted the examples below as case studies in the support section of our website:

 

 

Jaxon – I used Unlock’s list of insurance brokers to get public liability insurance

Maryam – I successfully challenged the police over the disclosure of my filtered caution

TommyA call to the Unlock helpline led to my conviction becoming spent and a new job

 

More than 80,000 people are on the barred list according to latest DBS figures

If you are included on a barred list (Children’s or Adult’s) you will be unable to work in regulated activity with any group from which you are barred; you will also be breaking the law if you seek to work in regulated activity. Likewise, any employer who knowingly employs somebody on the barred list will also be breaking the law.

If you receive a caution or conviction for certain ‘relevant offences’ (known as autobar offences) and you work or have worked in regulated activity in the past (or may do so in the future) then the DBS may decide to add you to one or both barred lists. The DBS will contact you in writing and in many cases, will give you the opportunity to make representation to them as to why you shouldn’t be included on one (or both lists). If you are cautioned or convicted of an automatic inclusion offence, you will not be permitted to make representation.

However, many people face being barred years after they were cautioned or convicted, usually prompted by an application for an enhanced and barring DBS check.

How do you get referred to the DBS?

Referrals to the DBS come from 3 sources:

  1. Referral cases – Received from employers and other regulated activity providers when they have dismissed, removed or would have removed (had the individual not left) an employee from working in regulated activity.
  2. Disclosure information – Received when an applicant with cautions, convictions (and sometimes police intelligence) for relevant offences applies for an enhanced with barring list check.
  3. Automatic Barring (Autobar) cases – Received when an individual has been cautioned or convicted for a relevant offence or is issued with a Risk of Sexual Harm Order/Sexual Risk Order (if details have been provided to the DBS by the Home Office).

Recent figures released from the DBS show that in the year 2020/21, 20,675 barring referrals came from automatic barring cases with a further 12,280 cases being investigated after an application for an enhanced and barring check is made.

How many people are on the barred list?

The number of people included in one or more barred lists has been steadily increasing year on year since 2011 from 37,199 to 81,941. (The total number includes those who have remained on the list from previous years).

During 2020/21 a further 4,020 people were added to one or both barred lists, a 4.68% increase on the previous year. However, it should be noted that this is one of the smallest increases over the course of the periods recorded which is good to see.

Receiving a ‘Minded to Bar’ letter

Our helpline is regularly contacted by individuals who, having applied for an enhanced and barring DBS check, receive a letter from the DBS informing them that they are being considered for inclusion on the Children’s and/or Adults’ Barred List. Many of these individuals make successful representations to the DBS and are able to continue working with vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, waiting for a decision causes huge amounts of worry and anxiety and for some, may lead to a job offer being withdrawn.

Some of these barring investigations will have been triggered as a result of an employer carrying out an ineligible check. Not only is this unlawful but as can be seen, the potential impact on an individual can be enormous. Therefore, if you believe that an employer is carrying out an ineligible check, then you should challenge this at the earliest opportunity.

If you do receive a Minded to Bar letter, don’t panic but don’t ignore it.

If you do nothing then you will automatically be placed on one or both barred lists which means you’ll no longer be able to work in regulated activity. The DBS have no wish to bar everybody who has ever been cautioned or convicted of a relevant offence and will seek to include only those who are working in regulated activity who could be seen to present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults. When making a barring decision, the DBS will act independently, weighing up the cases presented by both the individual and the other parties.

We have further information on making representations and appealing a DBS decision but if you would prefer to speak to one of our advisors about a barring issue, please contact our helpline.

Monthly summary – March 2021

Welcome to our monthly summary for March 2021.

This provides a summary of:

  1. the latest updates to our self-help information site for people with convictions
  2. recent posts to our online magazine, theRecord
  3. discussions on our online forum
  4. other news and developments that might be of interest to people with a criminal record

Have you stumbled across this? You can receive updates to your inbox every month for free by signing up to our mailing list (make sure you choose to receive ‘news for people with convictions’).

Updates to our information site

Here’s a summary of the updates we’ve made to the information hub. There are links within each update to where you can find more information.

Work and volunteering

  • Applying for a job with probation? Do you know what you need to disclose? – The Probation Workforce Strategy 2020-2023 sets out the commitment made by HMPPS to enhance their recruitment approach to attract candidates with broad and varied life experiences. Our latest advice post sets out what applicants should (and should not) disclose when applying for a probation officer role.
  • Self-disclosure statements – We’ve updated this page to include an example of how to disclose a conviction for a sexual offence.
  • Gambling licence (known as a Personal Functional Licence) – As a result of changes made to the Gambling Commission website, we’ve updated some of the information and links on this page.

Sexual offences

  • Sexual offence convictions: what you need to know – There are many misconceptions around convictions for sexual offences, especially relating to their disclosure to employers, insurers etc. We’ve published some new information designed to raise awareness of the things individuals might need to know during the various stages of the criminal justice system.

Coming to (and staying) in the UK

  • Applying for settled status if you’re an EU citizen and travelling to Europe – We’ve written a further article for Insidetime which provides information on making a settled status application whilst you are in prison.

theRecord posts

Below are links to recent posts to our online magazine, theRecord. These are often linked to the practical information that we have, to help give some personal experiences.

SuccessKnowledge and enthusiasm enabled me to appeal my court order“Approximately eight years ago I received a six-month suspended sentence for a downloading offence and, along with this came an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) …..”

Struggles and stigmaThe hopelessness of IPP sentences“I was sentenced to five years in prison following my involvement in a tax fraud. I’d never been in any trouble with the police prior to this and the conviction came about due to some really bad business decisions I’d made. However, whatever the reason I’d still broken the law and it was right that I was punished …..”

Discussions on our online forum

Below are links to recent posts on our online forum. If you’d like to join the discussion but are not currently a forum member, find out how you can join here.

Anyone applied to work for probation? – M15788 has recently been considering applying for a job with the Probation Service but was concerned to see the advertisement state that applicants needed to “pass a DBS check”. Has anybody applied for a job with probation? Were you refused because you had an unspent conviction?

Applying for a B2 tourist visa – Fazz84 is hoping to travel to the USA later this year and would be interested in hearing from anybody who has been through the visa application process.

Other news and developments

Below are links to other news and developments that might be of interest to people with a criminal record. For more news, check out the news and media section of our main website.

New report highlights impact of criminal records on women

We’ve published a new report, “Angels or witches”: the impact of criminal records on women which brings together the voices and experiences of women with a criminal record and examines the barriers faced by them when accessing employment.

An insight into Northern Ireland’s consultation on spending periods

We have been following a consultation undertaken by the Northern Irish government on changing the rehabilitation periods for criminal offences. Unlock’s Policy Officer, Sam Doohan sets out his thoughts on the possible impact of any changes.

Monthly update – March 2021

We’ve just published our update for March 2021.

This months update includes:

  1. New information on sexual offence convictions: what you need to know.
  2. An advice post setting out what you do (and do not) need to disclose when applying for a job with probation.
  3. personal story which looks at the true cost of an IPP sentence. 
  4. link to a discussion on theForum from an individual looking for advice on applying for a visa to visit the USA.
  5. A link to a report published by Unlock on the impact of criminal records on women.

The full update provides a summary of:

  1. the latest updates to our self-help information site for people with convictions
  2. recent posts to our online magazine, theRecord
  3. discussions on our online forum
  4. other news and developments that might be of interest to individuals with a criminal record.

Read the March 2021 update in full.

Best wishes,

Unlock

Notes

  • All previous updates can be found in full in the ‘Latest updates’ section of our Information Hub
  • For more self-help information, please visit unlock.devchd.com/information-and-advice/
  • If you have any questions about this information, please contact our helpline
  • If you’ve been forwarded this email, you can sign up to receive these updates directly by clicking here and selecting to receive ‘News/updates for people with convictions’
  • If you have found this information use, please leave us your feedback and/or consider making a donation.

Some examples of people we’ve helped

Looking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few examples of the people we’ve helped.

We hope they give a good idea of how we help people.

More importantly, we think that these examples show how people with convictions are able to overcome some of the barriers that have been put in their way due to their criminal record.

We’ve posted the examples below as case studies in the support section of our website:

 

Asher – Unlock helped me to get links to online information about my conviction removed

Donald – Getting support from Unlock to challenge an ineligible DBS check allowed me to keep my job with the NHS

OmarBeing told that I might be placed on a DBS barred list made me relive my conviction 24 years later

 

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