When applying for jobs, insurance or even a Visa, there are a number of rules in place about the disclosure of a conviction or caution for an offence. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (The Act) enables some convictions to become ‘spent’ after a rehabilitation period which, in some instance, means they do not have to be disclosed in applications and will not come up on a DBS check. This is to allow people who may have committed relatively minor offences, to start afresh.
Originally, pursuant to The Act, all convictions, warnings and cautions that were held on the Police National Computer (PNC), whether spent or otherwise, would have to be disclosed to a potential employer.
It was after the case known as ‘T’- [R. (T and others) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and others  EWCA Civ 25], where the Court found that automatic disclosure of all cautions, warnings and convictions was unfair, and violated a person’s rights under Article 8 of Human Rights Act 1988.
Changes to the rules on disclosure were finally brought into force on the 29th of May 2013. They determined which sentences would be included on a DBS Certificate, and which ought to be taken into account by the potential employer. Further amendments were made in March 2014, which reduced the rehabilitation periods for the offences to become ‘spent’. For example: a simple caution is now considered to be ‘spent’ immediately, and a prison sentence of 2 years, is considered ‘spent’ after the total length of the sentence plus 4 years as opposed to 10 years rehabilitative period from conviction.