Virginia contacted our helpline because she wanted clarification around the filtering of convictions from Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
She explained that over 20 years ago she had received a suspended sentence for a fraud offence. She told us that at the time, she didn’t know what she was getting involved in, as far as she was concerned she was just helping out a friend. It was only when she was arrested that she appreciated the true extent of what she’d done.
Although she was hugely embarrassed and ashamed of her conviction, immediately after it happened, it had little impact on her. She was working as a nurse at the time and continued to do so – criminal record checks didn’t exist so her employers never found out about it.
It was only when she came to move jobs a few years later that she learnt about criminal record checks and the lasting impact her conviction would have.
“It must have been about 2004 when I had my first CRB check as they were known then. I’d been offered a fantastic job with a big promotion and when I got called in to meet HR, it never crossed my mind that it was going to be bad news. I’ll never forget the look of disgust on the manager’s face as she told me the job offer was being withdrawn because I was a criminal”
Virginia explained that within 10 minutes of that meeting she knew she would never put herself in that position again and effectively ‘retired’ from nursing.
In the years that followed she started lecturing in health and social care on a self-employed basis but missed hands-on nursing. She told us that when she’d heard about the new filtering legislation and the chance that she wouldn’t have to disclose her conviction any longer she felt brave enough to apply for a manager’s job in a care home and had just been offered the job.
Virginia wanted to know whether her conviction would automatically be filtered or whether she needed to apply to have it removed. After listening to her story, our advisor explained that not every conviction was eligible for filtering and, as she had received a custodial sentence (albeit suspended) then hers would fall into this category and would still appear on her DBS certificate.
Virginia immediately took the view that the job offer would be revoked once her employer saw her certificate and stated that she would withdraw her application before this happened.
Our advisor empathised with Virginia but explained that her experiences in the past could be very different to what would happen now. We explained that more employers were willing to give people a second chance and employ those with convictions and that as hers were so long ago it was unlikely that it would be viewed in the same way that it was at the time it happened.
We gave Virginia some further information around disclosure and encouraged her to make an appointment to see her manager.
Virginia later came back to us and said:
“As I finished explaining my conviction to my manager, she looked at me and said “You poor thing you have been through it haven’t you. Still onwards and upwards”. It made no absolutely no difference at all and I got the job so thank you Unlock for encouraging me to go for it”
If you’ve been refused a job or treated badly following the disclosure of your criminal record then it’s only natural that you will be loath to put yourself in that position again. However every employer is different and just because you haven’t been successful in the past, you shouldn’t assume that this will always be the case.
- Practical information: Filtering of cautions/convictions – A simple guide
- Practical information: Disclosing criminal records employers
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.