DBS Filtering Rules Updated

November 23rd, 2020 by Jake Waddingham

The DBS has announced that from the 28 November 2020 onwards new filtering rules for Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates will apply. It was identified by the Supreme Court that current filtering rules were disproportionate. Key changes include:

  • Youth reprimands, youth warnings, or youth cautions will no longer be disclosed.
  • Automatic disclosure of all convictions where an individual has more than one conviction – instead, each individual conviction will be assessed against the appropriate rules.

What are the DBS Filtering Rules?

On the 29th May 2013 legislation came into force that removed certain old and minor conviction information, from the Exceptions Order of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. In practical terms this means that not all conviction information will be displayed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS Disclosure. These rules are described as the DBS Filtering Rules.

What are the new changes?

From the 28 November 2020 onwards the following rules regarding the automatic disclosure of cautions and convictions on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate will apply:

Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates must always include the following records no matter when they were received:

  • All convictions for specified offences
  • Adult cautions for specified offences
  • All convictions that resulted in a custodial sentence

Other records must be included depending on when the caution or conviction was received:

  • Any adult caution for a non-specified offence received within the last 6 years
  • Any adult conviction for a non-specified offence received within the last 11 years
  • Any youth conviction for a non-specified offence received within the last 5 and a half years

Cautions and convictions not covered by the above rules are classed as ‘protected’ and will not appear on a DBS certificate automatically. In addition, cautions, reprimands and warnings received when an individual was under 18 will not appear on a Standard or Enhanced certificate automatically.

What is a specified offence?

Parliament have set out a list of of specified offences which will not be filtered on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate.

Any cautions (including reprimands and warnings) and convictions not covered by the rules above are ‘protected’ and will not appear on a DBS certificate automatically.

Why is there a protected caution or conviction on Enhanced a DBS certificate?

For Enhanced DBS checks only, the local police force may consider that a caution or conviction is relevant to the role the individual is performing. Enhanced certificates may therefore include information relating to a caution or conviction that is protected under the filtering rules. For example, if an individual requires an Enhanced DBS check with a child workforce due their role working with children, the police may consider it relevant to disclose information about a caution relating to children received more than 6 years a go.

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