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Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

New reforms will cut the amount of time some offenders need to disclose details of any low level convictions.

The move is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to tackling reoffending; however, all offenders will still always have to declare previous convictions when applying for jobs in sensitive workplaces like schools and hospitals or working with people in vulnerable circumstances. The most serious offenders will continue to have to declare their convictions for the rest of their lives when applying for any job.


Under the reforms the rehabilitation periods will change to:

For custodial sentences:

Sentence length Current rehabilitation period (applies from date of conviction) New rehabilitation period is period of sentence plus the ‘buffer’ period below which applies from end of sentence)
0 – 6 months 7 years 2 years
6 – 30 months 10 years 4 years
30 months – 4 years Never spent 7 years
Over 4 years Never spent Never spent

For non-custodial sentences:

Sentence Current rehabilitation period (applies from date of conviction) Buffer period (will apply from end of sentence)
Community order (& Youth Rehabilitation Order) 5 years 1 years
Sentence Current period New period
Fine 5 years 1 years (from date of conviction)
Absolute discharge 6 months None
conditional discharge, referral order, reparation order, action plan order, supervision order, bind over order, hospital order Various – mostly between one year and length of the Order Period of order

As with the current scheme, the above periods are halved for persons under 18 at date of conviction (except for custodial sentences of up to 6 months where the buffer period will be 18 months for persons under 18 at the date of conviction).

If you have any questions, contact our Employment Team today for help and advice.

By Louise Addison 

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