Aim of this information
This forms part of our information on criminal record checks for employment.
This simple guide briefly explains the filtering process that applies to standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks. For additional information have a look at our detailed guide to filtering.
Note: This guide focuses on how the filtering process works in England & Wales.
Why is this important?
Cautions or convictions which are eligible for filtering will automatically be removed from DBS checks at the time a DBS application is made. It’s important therefore to know whether your offence will be filtered to ensure that you do not disclose it to an employer if, legally, you don’t need to.
Since May 2013, standard and enhanced checks no longer disclose ALL cautions and convictions. Following a Court of Appeal ruling, the Government introduced a process of ‘filtering’.
‘Filtering’ is similar in its concept to the rehabilitation periods under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. However, instead of establishing what is ‘spent’ and so what doesn’t get disclosed on a basic check, ‘filtering’ establishes what doesn’t get disclosed on a standard or enhanced DBS check. In the first 3 months that it operated, 8,344 individuals had a conviction filtered, and 27,903 had a caution filtered.
Information that is filtered will be removed from a DBS check automatically the next time you apply for one. But it doesn’t get ‘removed’ or ‘wiped’ from police records. In practice, it means that if you’re applying for a job or role that involves a DBS check, you are legally entitled to withhold the details of anything that would now be filtered. For a detailed guide on filtering, search for ‘filtering’ on hub.unlock.org.uk.
Cautions – Multiple cautions can be filtered, so long as the offences are eligible and the relevant time period has passed for each. Each caution is dealt with separately.
Convictions – Only single convictions that didn’t lead to a suspended or custodial sentence can be filtered, so long as the offence is eligible and the relevant time period has passed.
Types of offences*
* This is a summary only. The DBS has published a list of specified offences not eligible for filtering
DBS checks – Filtering flowchart
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