Changes to Rehabilitation Periods from 10 March 2014


2 mins

Posted on 19 Feb 2014

The Government is reducing the length of rehabilitation periods, meaning that fewer convictions will need to be disclosed when making job applications. 

Employers are not generally allowed to ask job applicants about criminal convictions which have become “spent”, although there are exceptions when recruiting for certain occupations or professions. In addition, some convictions where a long custodial sentence has been imposed never become "spent" and so must always be disclosed during the recruitment process. A conviction becomes spent once the rehabilitation period has expired.

Under the changes, rehabilitation periods for custodial sentence and community orders will include the period of the sentence plus an additional period, rather than all rehabilitation periods starting from the date of conviction as is currently the case.

Details of the changes are as follows:

Custodial sentence

Sentence length Current rehabilitation period (from date of conviction) New rehabilitation period (period of sentence plus “buffer” period below which applies from date 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

Non-custodial sentence

Sentence Current rehabilitation period (from date of conviction) Buffer period which applies from end of sentence
Community order (and youth rehabilitation order) 5 years 1 year
Sentence Current period New period
Fine 5 years  1 year (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).

The changes are being made by Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

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