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3. 1. Data after admissions

If you have determined that you will ask about criminal records in any capacity, you will need to think carefully about the full student journey and how you will manage the data going forward. Key considerations are:

  • Criminal records data is not static. Records become spent or protected over time. Records which become spent or protected during study should be deleted, depending on the course type (spent records for non-regulated courses and protected for regulated courses).

  • Criminal records data is best stored away from other personal data. Criminal records data is legally distinct from other special category data. As such, it will likely be easier to ensure compliance if it is stored in a distinct manner.

  • Clearly defining why, when and by whom criminal records data will be accessed will inform how it is stored. If all personal data is stored all in one place, there is an increased likelihood that those accessing students’ personal data for other reasons will come across criminal records data.

  • The GDPR sets a high bar for consent. Where this basis is used for collecting criminal records data (eg in order to offer support), providers should ensure that their processes for withdrawing consent are robust, and that students are offered ownership of how and when their data is processed. Consent should be genuine and freely given.

  • Where this is the case, each new Art 6/Art10 basis for which you use data must be identified and recorded. For example, collecting data for equal opportunities monitoring will require a distinct purpose, outlined in a policy, to when collecting data for admissions processes.

  • If staff are concerned about anything relating to criminal record data, there should be a clear place or person to whom they can direct these concerns. This avoids criminal record data being shared with those who are not entitled to know. This might be your assigned named contact for criminal records.

‘‘Once we have enrolled a student who has disclosed a criminal record, the admissions team asks whether they would like us to share this information with their personal tutor. We find that most students say yes, but it’s important that it is their choice.’’

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