Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 4 April 2024.

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Photo of Lord Blunkett Lord Blunkett Labour

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to update the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Photo of Lord Bellamy Lord Bellamy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

This government has recently reviewed and made significant changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 amended the ROA to significantly reduce the length of time that someone needs to disclose most criminal records. These reforms will improve access to employment, which we know is a key factor in supporting rehabilitation and enabling former offenders to reintegrate into the community. Serious violent, sexual, or terrorist offences are excluded from these changes and continue to never be spent.

Where a person has a conviction disclosed, we are clear that this should not be an automatic bar to employment. Our guidance for employers states that they should make a balanced judgment on whether someone’s convictions make them unsuitable for a particular job. This should take into account the person’s age at the time of the offence, how long ago it took place, the nature of the offence and its relevance to the position in question, among other factors.

The ROA is kept under review. There are no current plans to make further changes, but please see further the answer I gave on 4 April to Question HL3362.

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