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Ryan – Suspended from my job because my employers didn’t understand the filtering legislation

Ryan contacted our helpline after the school he worked at suspended him from his teaching job due to the non-disclosure of his caution on two ‘Disqualification Declaration’ forms.

Ryan explained that although he had received a caution in August 2008, in September 2014 he was able to benefit from legislation introduced in May 2013 and his caution became eligible for filtering from standard and enhanced checks. When he was offered the teaching job in June 2015, the school carried out an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service which had come back with nothing on it. Confident that his caution had been filtered, when Ryan was asked to complete the disqualification declaration form in 2015 and 2016, he didn’t think that he needed to disclose his caution.

In early 2017, Ryan was asked to attend a meeting with the head-teacher. He was told that the school had become aware that he had a criminal record and they were concerned that despite having been asked twice to declare it, he had chosen not to. The headmaster explained that Ryan would be suspended whilst the school carried out a full investigation.

We were able to confirm with Ryan that as his caution was eligible for filtering, he had done nothing wrong in not disclosing to the school. We offered to write to the school providing further information around the filtering legislation. In our letter we stated that:

  • Government legislation introduced in May 2013 allowed for minor cautions to be ‘filtered’ from standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks after a period of 6 years. Once a caution becomes eligible for filtering, it is deemed to be ‘protected’ and legally does not need to be disclosed to an employer.
  • In September 2014, Ryan’s caution became eligible for filtering which was confirmed by the DBS certificate the school had received in June 2015.
  • As Ryan had been asked to complete disqualification declaration forms in 2015 and 2016, he had no legal obligation to disclose his caution.

Ryan rang us a couple of weeks later to say that he had been contacted by the headmaster and his suspension had been lifted. The head apologised for the stress and inconvenience that Ryan had been caused but said that he was new in post and didn’t have a good enough understanding of filtering legislation.



Schools can be very risk averse when they are dealing with somebody that has a criminal record, especially when they believe that an individual has tried to withhold information from them. This case demonstrates how many employers are unaware of filtering legislation and mistakenly believe that they should (or can) take ‘protected’ cautions/convictions into account.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s case work.

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


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