Professional assessments will:
- Focus on a person’s abilities, skills, experience and qualifications.
- Consider the nature of the conviction and/or caution and its relevance to the post or position in question.
- Identify the risks to the College’s business, partners, other students and employees.
1. Where an applicant declares a criminal conviction or caution, the Principal will write to the applicant inviting him or her to supply further information about the conviction or caution. The information supplied will then be immediately brought to the attention of the senior lecturer. Arrangements for conducting a professional assessment will be the responsibility of these post holders.
2. Each assessment will be undertaken in confidence by 3 people – the Principal, the Senior lecturer and a relevant experienced independent individual. Risk assessment will be based on:
2.1 The relevance to the programme of study:
- Will the student be participating in activities involving one-to-one contact with vulnerable groups or individuals as a student?
- What level of supervision will the student receive?
- Will the student have any direct responsibility for finance or exposure to money or items of value?
- Will the student have direct and/or unsupervised contact with the public?
- Will the nature of the programme of study present any opportunities for re-offending?
2.2 And an assessment of other issues:
- The seriousness of the offence and its relevance to the safety of other students, employees, customers, clients and property.
- The length of time since an offence took place.
- Any relevant information offered by the applicant about the circumstances leading up to an offence for example domestic or financial difficulties.
- Whether the offence was a one-off, or part of a history of offending or repeat offences.
- Whether an applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offence.
- An individual’s attempt to “go straight”, degree of remorse expressed.
- The country in which the offence was committed, some activities are offences in Scotland and not in England and Wales, and vice versa.
3. For these activities where a Disclosure is required, all relevant student literature, application forms, and recruitment information will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of the individual agreeing to undertake these activities.
4. If a criminal record or caution has been disclosed voluntarily on the application for a programme of study, an initial assessment will be made according to the considerations listed above. An offer of a place on a programme of study will be made subject to engaging in the Disclosure process. The applicant will be informed that the offer will stand subject to no material additional information emerging from the Disclosure process.
5. Should additional information emerge from the Disclosure process which appears to contradict earlier information, the Institute will contact the applicant who will be given an opportunity to comment on the situation.
6. The decision of the professional assessment will be final and binding and communicated to the individual concerned in writing by the College Principal.
7. DtN makes recruitment decisions in good faith based on the information supplied on application forms and signed off as accurate and truthful by an applicant. DtN reserves the right to withdraw an offer to study at DtN if it is subsequently revealed that he or she has deliberately withheld or falsified information directly relevant to the programme of study in the application process. Action (including expulsion) may also be taken against an existing student, where it is discovered that he or she has withheld or deliberately falsified information directly relevant to the position held.
8. All paperwork and related materials will be kept in a separate limited access filing system to ensure confidentiality.
Convictions acquired during study
9. Should an existing student acquire a criminal conviction and/or caution during the course of their study at DtN, they must disclose that fact and details of the conviction and/or caution in writing to the college Principal as soon as possible. The Principal, Senior Lecturer and a relevant experienced independent individual will carry out an assessment in accordance with the procedure listed above and consider what action, if any, should be taken in the light of the changed circumstances.
Discipling The Nations College’s assessment of criminal records will:
- Always be based on confidentiality and discretion when requesting and handling criminal records;
- Encourage applicant honesty by stating that applicants will be considered on merit and ability;
- Advise applicants to submit confidential records separately from the usual application form and to a named employee. They should be encouraged to attach any other information they wish to draw attention to, that may improve understanding and fair decision-making;
- Comply with the data protection law;
- Only ensure access to criminal record information is on a need-to-know basis.
USEFUL BACKGROUND INFORMATION, FACTS AND CONTEXT:
- According to estimates at least 20% of the working population has had a criminal conviction.
- Only a small number of crimes are considered serious enough to warrant custodial sentences – 7%;
- Most offenders receive short sentences – 66% serve less than 12 months;
- Less than 10% of convictions are for violence to the person;
- Almost 80% are convicted on only one occasion before the age of 40;
- Only 0.4% of the population have a conviction by the age of 35 that will never be spent;
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
1. Under this law any conviction for a criminal offence can be regarded as spent provided:
- The conviction did not carry a sentence excluded from the Act, such as a custodial sentence of over two and a half years
- No further convictions occurred within the rehabilitation period
2. Once a conviction is regarded as “spent”, the rehabilitated person does not have to reveal its existence in most circumstances and can answer “no” to the question “do you have a criminal record?” Certain occupations are exceptions and are listed in ROA (Exceptions) Order 1975.
3. Custodial sentence of more than two and a half years can never become “spent”.
4. The length of time to become “rehabilitated” depends on the sentence received and the age when convicted. Generally, for a person aged 18 or over, sentenced to imprisonment for more than 6 months and less than two and a half years, this is 10 years. For a person aged 17 or under, sentenced to the same period of imprisonment, is 5 years.
Exceptions to the Act
Exempted occupations fall into the following categories:
- Work involving matters of national security, for example some civil service posts, defence contracts, etc.
- Work that brings the person into contact with vulnerable groups such as the infirm, elderly, mentally ill and young people under the age of 18.
- Professions that have legal protection, for example nurses, doctors, dentists, chemists, accountants.
- Posts concerned with the administration of justice, for example police officers, lawyers, probation officers, traffic wardens.
- Health service appointments.
THE SAFEGUARDING VULNERABLE GROUPS ACT 2006 AND THE VETTING AND BARRING SCHEME
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 introduced a new vetting and barring scheme covering those working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults. It was launched on 12 October 2009 and is administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
The Government put the Vetting and Barring Scheme on hold in June 2010.
Discipling The Nations College will comply with the requirements of the Independent Safeguarding Authority as and when they are introduced.