Benny contacted our helpline to find out whether his convictions from about 15 years ago would be filtered and if so, what was the process for asking the DBS to filter them. He explained that as a result of an undiagnosed mental health illness, he was convicted of two offences and had received a hospital order. Once diagnosed, he immediately started treatment and has had a clean record ever since.
He told us how his children were members of their local Beavers and Cubs groups and he was really keen on getting involved with one of these types of organisation. He had been a Boy Scout himself and remembered fondly the amazing friendships he’d made and the fantastic trips he’d been on to Holland and Switzerland.
We advised Benny that due to his having two convictions, neither of these would be eligible for filtering. We explained to him that just because they would appear on his DBS Certificate, this alone would not prevent him from volunteering.
Benny was extremely disappointed with this information and told us that he didn’t think he could continue with his application knowing not only that his previous convictions would show up but that he would also have to explain about his mental health. He believed this was yet another reason for an organisation to discriminate against him.
We discussed with Benny ways of disclosing his conviction and reassured him that if this was something he was passionate about doing, then he should do it. Benny went away to have a think about it.
Several weeks later, Benny contacted us again to say that he had decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and had enquired about becoming a Scout Leader. He’d spoken to the Leader at his local group about getting involved in some way. He’d disclosed his convictions as well as explaining how these had come about. The Scout Leader told him to apply and got him to complete the DBS application form there and then.
Six weeks later his DBS Certificate was returned with his two convictions showing and he duly handed it over to the Leader. There was no further discussion about the contents of the certificate and Benny was immediately offered the opportunity to start volunteering as a helper with a view to start training as a Leader and then having his own group.
‘I was so disappointed when I heard that my convictions wouldn’t be filtered but the advisor at Unlock was so upbeat and positive that I started to believe that I could apply to become a Scout Leader and that I would be able to disclose my offences.
I’m so glad I’ve done it and I can’t thank Unlock enough for the help and advice they gave me. I’m really looking forward to doing something I’ve been dreaming about doing for years.’
This case shows the importance of understanding your criminal record and never assuming that you will automatically be refused a job or voluntary position just on the basis of having a criminal record.
There’s information on disclosure on our self-help information site.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to our helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.