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Criminal record requests on application forms could be breaching GDPR

People Management has published an article that looks at a briefing recently published by Nacro that looks at data protection and the use of criminal offence data for employment and education purposes. We very much welcome the briefing by Nacro, which raises some important issues for employers. 

Speaking to People Management, Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“GDPR and the new Data Protection Act 2018 means employers that choose to ask applicants about criminal records will need to provide clear reasons and explain their legal basis for doing so. It is likely that asking about criminal records at application stage would be very difficult to justify in light of the recent enhancements in data protection. As one of the founding members of the Ban the Box campaign in the UK, Unlock encourages employers of all sizes and in every sector to sign up and remove criminal record questions from application forms.


“However, fair recruitment is about more than just removing a question. Employers are required to justify why they are asking about criminal records at any stage in the process, and we encourage employers to use this opportunity to think about whether they need to ask about criminal records at all and, if they do, how they manage the process so they don’t miss out on talented and qualified applicants with previous convictions. Proactive recruiters report that employees with convictions are more productive and more loyal than average. We have developed 10 principles of fair recruitment, in collaboration with business and government, and we will be publishing practical guidance for employers on data protection, GDPR and criminal records in the coming weeks.” 


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Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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