What are the DBS Filtering Rules for criminal check certificates?

November 27th, 2020 by Jonathan Bazely

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.

These rules were updated on 28th November 2020 as follows:

Those 18 years old or over at the time of offence

Convictions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • 11 years have passed since the date of the conviction

Cautions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • 6 years have passed since the date of the caution

Those under the age of 18 at the time of offence

Convictions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • Same rules apply as above however the elapsed time is reduced to 5.5 years

Cautions, reprimands and warnings received when an individual was under 18 will not appear on a Standard or Enhanced certificate automatically.

Information never Filtered from a Certificate

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

More guidance can be found on the DBS website here.

Filtering of information on Disclosure Scotland applications:

For more information on the legislation changes in Scotland, please read the Disclosure Scotland website. Please note that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2015 applies different filtering rules to the treatment of convictions, which fall under the Scottish regime.

Policy and recruitment wording

Please note that in response to the changes to the DBS filtering rules the recruitment question should also be amended to:

Do you have any unspent conditional cautions or convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974? (Y/N)?

Do you have any adult cautions (simple or conditional) or spent convictions that are not protected as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020? (Y/N)?