From 10 March 2015, it will be a criminal offence for employers to require job applicants or existing employees to obtain a copy of their criminal records by means of a subject access request under the Data Protection Act – known as ‘enforced subject access’.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, employers are restricted from asking about spent convictions except in certain specified circumstances however employers have historically been able to circumvent this restriction by requiring an applicant or employee to obtain a copy of their criminal record by means of enforced subject access. This practice has been criticised by the Information Commissioner for some time, but it is now unlawful, punishable by a potentially unlimited fine.
Now, if an employer wants to find out about employees’ and applicants’ criminal convictions, they must use the criminal records disclosure regime which is operated by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
For more information about the implications of this legal change contact Adrian Berkeley firstname.lastname@example.org 0161-371 0011.