Spent Convictions

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nailit | 19:10 Wed 08th Aug 2018 | Law
16 Answers
Filled some forms out today for some voluntary work.
The inevitable questions re: convictions came up and asked if I had any unspent convictions. I ticked 'no'. I know that there has been changes regarding what convictions are now spent and what aren't but it all gets a little confusing. My last conviction was last September as I posted about at the time
I got a conditional discharge for assaulting 2 police officers + fines, costs and compo.
(before anyone judges me for getting such a lenient sentence, the offences were due to my mental/psychiatric state at the time)

Im a little confused as to whether this conviction is actually spent or not.
Any advice/info would be much appreciated.

(also, would I be committing another criminal offence If I ticked 'no' and the offences weren't actually spent)



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A Conditional Discharge is "spent" when the period of the discharge is up. So if you received a 12 month Conditional Discharge last September it is not spent until this September. If it was for 6 month sit was spent last March.
Question Author
Thanks for very speedy reply NJ, appreciate it.
So I have basically been untruthful in ticking the 'no' box re spent convictions?
Is this itself a criminal offence?
Your link says a 12 month on so as NJ says, afraid not at the moment.

Have you seen this, Nails?
Question Author
Thanks for reply JD.
Thanks for the link Tills, will have more of a look at that later,
Full information here:

>>> would I be committing another criminal offence If I ticked 'no' and the offences weren't actually spent

That's an interesting question. Anyone who answered 'No' under such circumstances on an employment application form would be guilty of an offence against the Fraud Act 2006. We've had a post on AB from someone who 'forgot' about an unspent conviction when applying for a job. He only did the job for a week but, a full year later, the police knocked on his door and he ended up being given a 2-year prison sentence for the offence. (It probably didn't help much that the offence which he 'forgot' about was also for fraud!)

However the Fraud Act 2006 only covers situations where a person intends "to make a gain for himself or another, or to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss" and the Act specifically restricts the definitions of 'gain' and 'loss' to "gain or loss in money or other property". So, as far as I can see, it DOESN'T apply to seeking voluntary posts.
Question Author
Thanks Chris for a detailed reply there :-)
I ticked the 'no' box because I honestly didn't know if it was one of those convictions that were spent or not. And to be fair I wasn't exactly sure when the sentencing was either, until I rolled back through my AB posts to find it.
I knew it was sometime last year and that Id posted about it but couldn't remember of the cuff exactly when until I got back home to check.
Did the forms say that they would do a CRB check on you? That's pretty standard these days, even for voluntary work, especially if you're going to be in any sort of contact with the public.
Why not delay submitting the application for a month or two, by which time the conviction will be spent and ticking the no box will be accurate. Good luck with it Nailit, it is great that you want to do some volunteering
Question Author
Richard & Rosetta
Actually its a re-applying for van driver with the local foodbank. I applied 2 years ago and they actually weren't too bothered about any convictions (but supposed they had to ask on an application form).
I didn't follow it through at the time as my mental health went south and as I say, managed to get myself convicted last year for assaulting two coppers.

I filled the forms out again today with my mental health care co-ordinater and honestly couldnt remember exactly what month last year my last conviction was (actually thought it was earlier on then it was)
Doubt that they will even do a DBS tbh, just like to be truthful though with these things.
Good luck with it all again, Nails. x
Question Author
Cheers Tills,
Second time lucky ;-)
I hope so.
>>> Did the forms say that they would do a CRB check on you? That's pretty standard these days, even for voluntary work, especially if you're going to be in any sort of contact with the public.

Since the legislation was tightened up, many organisations who used to require CRB checks (which have now become DBS checks) are no longer able to do get them.

Royal Mail, for example, used to insist upon DBS checks for all of their staff and used a dubious 'back door' route in the legislation to ensure that they got them.

The law has now been tightened to make it a criminal offence to try to get a DBS check carried out on an applicant for employment (or for a voluntary position, etc) unless the type of work/activity is 'exempted' by the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offender Act 1974.

In effect that means that the work/activity has to fall into one of the 61 categories listed here:

So it would be a criminal offence for the organisers of the local food bank to try (through a 'back door' route, since there's no 'regular' one open to them) to get a DBS check carried out on Nailit.

[NB: The above doesn't apply in Scotland, where there's a 'basic' level of criminal record check available to any employer or voluntary organisation who wants to make use of it. However such a check only shows unspent convictions anyway].
Question Author
That's a very interesting post Chris, thanks.
5 yrs ago I applied for a voluntary post working at a charity shop (Air Ambulance) and they insisted on doing a DBS.
I sacked them off as I couldn't see that working in a charity shop warrented a DBS.
Question Author
Not to mention the humiliation that I sat through in trying to explain my previous convictions to an interviewer, only to be told (in effect) F off

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