The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (Commencement No.8) Regulations 2023 SI 2023/1128 brought S.193 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 into force from 28 October 2023.
This amendment to S.5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 reduces the period of time after which certain offences no longer need to be disclosed to an employer. Previously, offenders with custodial sentences of more than 4 years were required to disclose their sentences for the rest of their lives. Now, custodial sentences of four years or less, and of more than four years for some less serious crimes (other than sexual, violent, or terrorist offences), will become ‘spent’ after a period of rehabilitation of up to seven years after the sentence has been served, provided that no further offence is committed in that period. Convictions for serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offences continue to never be spent, and stricter disclosure rules will continue to apply to jobs that involve working with vulnerable people. If an individual reoffends during the rehabilitation period, this will reset the rehabilitation period for the initial offence, and they will have to disclose both their original and subsequent offences to employers for the duration of whichever rehabilitation period is longer.
The rehabilitation periods prior to the amendments were:
- community order – one year beginning with the last day on which the order had effect;
- custody of six months or less – two years;
- custody of more than six months and up to 30 months – four years;
- custody of more than 30 months and up to four years – seven years;
- for offences with custodial sentences of more than four years, the conviction was never spent.
Following the amendments that have now come into force, the rehabilitation periods are now as follows:
- community order – the last day on which the order had effect;
- custody of one year or less – one year;
- custody of more than one year and up to four years – four years;
- custody of more than four years (other than serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offenses) – seven years.