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Briefing Note on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 Published Date: 25/03/2023

The briefing note has been prepared for the Institute of Licensing by President James Button and Stephen Turner (Chair of the IoL's Suitability Guidance working group) in response to what we believe is a need to provide some assistance to licensing authorities, applicants and representatives in relation to protected convictions and cautions.  The Briefing note does NOT constitute legal advice.

The Briefing Note has been endorsed by LLG, WLGA and NALEO.

IoL President James Button said:

'The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was passed to help some people who had made mistaken choices which resulted in a criminal conviction, which may then have a disproportionate effect on their lives. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was intended to protect society from recidivists by alerting employers, voluntary organisations, professional bodies and licensing organisations to the criminal background of those they were considering for engagement.

'Unfortunately, modifications made by the Government in the last decade have reduced that protection by introducing protected convictions and cautions. This means that even an enhanced DBS certificate, which is provided for the most sensitive of jobs and activities, will not reveal the full extent of a person’s criminal background.

'Inevitably, the law is complex and this briefing note aims to make the position clearer for employers, employees and the general public. This is particularly important at a time when integrity of many in public office is being questioned.'

Download the Briefing Note