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Lucy – I lost a job because I didn’t realise the impact of a ‘relevant’ order

Lucy contacted our helpline as she needed some advice about a possible ineligible check that had been done by an employer.

Lucy explained that she had received a three year prison sentence in 2007 for money laundering. She’d been working on and off since leaving prison but had waited until her conviction was spent before applying for jobs which she felt had some potential career opportunities.

She had applied for a couple of jobs; one as a customer advisor for a food producer and another as project manager with a large oil company. She was invited to an interview with the food company and, as she believed the job was covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, didn’t disclose her conviction. After a great interview she was offered the job and agreed to a criminal record check being done.

Lucy told us that all was going well with the job and she was half way through her training when she was called to the HR office and told that the job offer was being withdrawn due to the non-disclosure of her criminal record. She knew that her conviction was spent so assumed that the company must have done a standard or enhanced check rather than a basic. Lucy was due to attend another interview with the oil company and was keen to get some advice around establishing what level of check an employer is eligible to do and what options are available to you if they chose to do a different one.

We asked Lucy to confirm the details of her sentence and whether she’d received any other disposals. She confirmed that she’d received a confiscation order which she’d almost paid – there was a small amount of interest still outstanding.

We explained to Lucy that whilst there were monies outstanding on the confiscation order then her conviction would remain unspent. We recommended that if she could, she try to settle the balance as soon as she could so that her conviction could become spent and wouldn’t be disclosed on future basic certificates. From the information that Lucy had provided it sounded as though this was how her previous employer had found out about her conviction – that they had done a basic check (which would be the correct level) but that it had disclosed an unspent conviction.

Lucy told us that she was going to immediately deal with the outstanding monies in readiness for her next interview.

We heard back from Lucy a month later when she rang to let us know that she’d borrowed the money from her family to pay off her confiscation order. She’d been offered a job with the oil company and had just received her ‘blank’ basic certificate.

Lucy said:

“I didn’t realise how non-payment of my confiscation order would impact on when my conviction became spent. I’m glad I contacted Unlock. If I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have got the job I’ve got now.”



If you’ve received a ‘relevant’ order as part of your conviction, it’s likely that it will affect when your conviction becomes spent. Some orders such as confiscation orders become spent once they are paid, others will become spent at the end of the term given. However, it’s important to realise that if you’ve been given an indefinite order then your conviction is never going to be spent until such time as you go back to court to have it amended.


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.


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