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Charlie – “I disclosed my conviction and still got a job”

Charlie contacted our helpline for some advice around disclosing his criminal record. He explained that he’d been working in a warehouse through an agency but had been asked to apply directly to the employer for a full-time, permanent role.

The company had told him that they would be carrying out a basic criminal record check but he wasn’t sure of the date or details of his conviction or whether they were spent and needed to be disclosed.

We advised Charlie that without the details of his convictions it was difficult to know whether they were spent or not. We advised him to wait until he’d received his basic certificate and, if his convictions did appear then he should arrange a time to meet with his line manager or somebody from the HR department so that he could disclose his convictions to them.

We suggested that if he needed to disclose his convictions he should:

  1. Be open and honest and encourage the employer to ask any questions they felt necessary to enable them to make a fully informed decision.
  2. Explain that his convictions happened when he was a youth and give details of any mitigating circumstances that might explain why he acted in the way he did. Also, to explain what he had done to address his offending behaviour and change his life following his convictions.
  3. Provide evidence of any voluntary/community work he has completed or paid employment.
  4. Highlight how he has already worked for the company for 6 months on an agency basis and that he had been encouraged to apply for a full-time, permanent position due to his exemplary work record.
  5. Make it clear that he is not a risk to the employer or anyone he comes into contact with.

We recommended that he put together a self-disclosure statement which could help him with his disclosure but which he could also hand over as evidence of what he’d disclosed.

We contacted Charlie a couple of weeks later. He told us that his basic DBS check had come back with his convictions on it and so he’d arranged to meet with somebody in HR to discuss it’s contents.

Charlie stated:

“I was really grateful for the information and advice that Unlock provided and, as soon as I received my basic DBS certificate I arranged a meeting with HR.  They asked me lots of questions after which they told me that they’d be happy to take me on.”


This case demonstrates how important it is to know the exact details of your criminal record before you start applying for jobs. If you’re unsure of what’s on your record you could easily over or under-disclose. The best way of getting this information is to apply for your subject access request (SAR) from ACRO.

Applying for jobs with a criminal record can be difficult but as this case shows, there are employers that are willing to take on people who have convictions providing they have the necessary skills and experience to do the job.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

Published January 2020

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