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Author: Doug Yarnton

Scrapping of ‘disqualification by association’ requirement in schools

With effect from the 31st August 2018, changes are being made to the childcare disqualification arrangements, specifically removing the ‘disqualification by association’ element from schools and other non-domestic settings. It will however remain in place for roles such as home-based childminding. We’ve updated our page Childcare Disqualification Requirements – Primary school teachers, nursery staff and others – ‘Disqualified by association’ to reflect this.

The changes mean that schools will no longer be able to ask their staff questions about the cautions or convictions of someone living or working in their household.  

If you’ve previously been affected by the ‘disqualification by association’ requirements and have been granted a waiver from Ofsted, this will no longer be needed as of 31st August.  

Ofsted have confirmed to us that schools would still need to document that, prior to 31st August, a waiver had been granted together with the date that it was issued. However, they have suggested that all personal data including any details of the criminal record relating to it should be removed.  

We’d suggest that you speak with the school and ask them to confirm that they’ve deleted any data relating to your waiver which is no longer relevant.  

We’ve yet to see how schools will deal with these changes although the Department of Education has recommended that schools should “review their staffing policies and safer recruitment procedures, and make changes accordingly”. If you find that a school is:

  1. still asking you to provide details of the criminal record of someone living with you; or
  2. refusing to delete data when requested, we’d like to hear from you.

Please email details of the issue you’re having to  

 For more information 

  1. For practical information – More information can be found at Childcare Disqualification Requirements – Primary school teachers, nursery staff and others – ‘Disqualified by association’ 
  2. To read personal stories – You can read personal stories about this posted on theRecord, our online magazine. 
  3. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline. 




Subject access requests (SAR) – General information

Everybody has the right under the Data Protection Act 2018 to make a request to any organisation, for a copy of the information that organisation holds about them. This is called a subject access request (SAR).

There are many reasons why you may want to apply for a SAR, and we’ve produced some new information on how to apply for a SAR and, what you can do if an organisation refuses to provide you with one.

We have some specific information on applying for a subject access request if you would like to get copies of your police records.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on subject access requests (SAR) – general information and police records – subject access requests
  2. Questions – If you have any questions you can contact our helpline


You can now contact us through WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the digital messaging service, is now used by a billion people every month and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve added it as another way of contacting our confidential peer helpline.

We are always trying to remove any barrier that might be in the way of people contacting us. For a while now, we’ve seen WhatsApp grow as a free* and easy way for people to be in touch with each other.

So, we’ve set ourselves up on WhatsApp and we hope that it will make it easier for some people to send enquiries to us. It should certainly help those that normally pay to send text messages from their mobile.

You can use WhatsApp on your mobile to message us or call us. Our contact telephone number on WhatsApp is the same as the one you can use to text us – it’s 07824 113848.

For more information

  1. * Is WhatsApp really free? At the time of writing this, WhatsApp is free to use. Data charges may apply, although for those with use of WiFi or data bundles, use of WhatsApp will normally be covered by these and so be free to use.
  2. Find out more about how WhatsApp works.
  3. Find out more about the ways you can contact our helpline.
  4. As our helpline is run on limited charitable resources it can get extremely busy. You may be able to find the answer to your question on our self-help information hub, which has quick links to the key areas that we receive a lot of requests about.

Be aware of what type of criminal record check is being done for the job you’re applying for

Over the last few weeks our helpline has been contacted by several people enquiring about what’s likely to be included in their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

People will often refer to their convictions as being ‘spent’ without appreciating that jobs requiring standard or enhanced DBS checks are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and that these DBS certificates will disclose both spent and unspent convictions and cautions.

However, since May 2013, many people have been able to benefit from having cautions and a conviction filtered from their DBS certificates which means they no longer need to disclose it.

We often hear from people who require DBS checks as part of an employer’s recruitment process. They don’t disclose their convictions because they’re spent and they don’t realise they have to. If their cautions or conviction is not eligible for filtering then, when their DBS certificate comes back, it will disclose their criminal record and the individual will then need to explain it to the employer. This can often leave employers feeling that they’ve been misled especially, if they’d previously asked the applicant to disclose, and they may decide to withdraw the job offer.

So, it’s important that you’re aware of what’s on your criminal record and that you know what level of check is being done by an employer for a job. Standard or enhanced checks can only be requested for certain job roles, but any job role could potentially involve a basic disclosure.

Knowing the type of check that’s being done for the role you’re applying for should prevent you from giving too much or not enough information to the employer. Too much information could mean that an employer decides not to proceed with your application. Too little information may lead to employers questioning why you didn’t disclose and you feeling as though you’ve been dishonest. They may decide not to offer you a role or worse dismiss you if you’ve already started the job.

Employers don’t always make it obvious – sometimes, you need to do a bit of digging. Ultimately, though, it’s important to be aware of the type of check that’s being done so that you can be clear and confident about what, if anything, you need to disclose.

For more information

For practical self-help information – For a more detailed guide on filtering, click here.

For frequently asked questions on filtering, click here

To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences of filtering on our online forum.

Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline

Top 10 things to know about criminal records

We’ve produced some new information, 10 things to know about criminal record, which provides a short summary of the key things that people with convictions should know about their criminal record.

The most important thing for anybody with a criminal record is to know exactly what theirs includes . Many people don’t know the details of their record and it’s vital that you get this right so that you know what you need to disclose to employers, insurers, universities and others.

This new information is a short summary of some of the key areas of life which may be affected by a criminal record.

We hope you find it helpful. Let us know what you think by using our feedback form.

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