Criminal Convictions 

A change in law will reduce the time people with criminal convictions are required to declare them. This will relate to the declaring of convictions to potential employers, after their sentences have been served. 

The reforms came into force on Saturday 28th October 2023, under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. 

The changes aim to remove barriers to employment after prison, and lower levels of reoffending. In turn, this will help offenders to reintegrate into society, and avoid a life of crime. It will provide increased opportunities for offenders to earn an income, and provide routine and purpose, in turn reducing crime rates through reoffending.   It is estimated that nearly 125,000 people sentenced in 2022 will be affected by these changes.  


What are the changes to disclosure? 

  • Under the previous rules, some offences need to be disclosed for the rest of the life of the offender.  This will be reduced as follows –  
  • custodial sentences of four years will become “spent” after a 7-year rehabilitation period (as long as no further offences are committed).  The same will apply to longer sentences for less serious crimes 
  • custodial sentences of a year or less will only need to be disclosed for one year 

Certain offenders will be exempt from these changes, including those who have committed serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offences.  There will continue to be stricter rules for jobs who involve working with vulnerable people (standard and enhanced DBS checks). 


Sexual Harassment 

Employers will soon be responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees, in the course of their employment. 

This will cover acts of sexual harassment both by colleagues/fellow employees, and third parties (which will include customers and contractors). 

The Equality Act has been amended to reflect this change, with the addition of a new section, 40A. It will come into force on 26th October 2024. 

From that date onwards, an addition uplift will be able to be awarded by tribunals, whereby compensation will be increased by up to 25%. This will apply to cases of sexual harassment, where the employer is found to have breached the new duty to prevent sexual harassment. 

If you have any questions about either of these changes, or any other aspect of HR, please contact us.  We will continue to update you as further details become available.