Self-disclosure statements / Disclosure letters

Aim of this information

The aim of this information is to explain how a disclosure statement/letter can help with “when and how to disclose to an employer when applying for work. It also provides some examples of what should be included in a disclosure statement/letter.   This information is part of our disclosing to employers section.

Why is this important?

However you choose to disclose your criminal record to an employer, be it face to face or in writing, it’s important that you are clear about what you need to disclose and how you are going to disclose it.

A disclosure statement/letter can often help to get your thoughts into some kind of order which you can use as a prompt when disclosing face to face or to hand over to an employer as evidence of what you’ve disclosed. The statement/letter should:

  • Give details of your offence and the circumstances surrounding it.
  • Highlight what makes you suitable for the role, i,e, your previous skills and experience.
  • Demonstrate how you have moved on or changed since your offence.

When should I use a self-disclosure statement?

Generally, our view is that if you’re disclosing your criminal record to an employer, discussing the details face-to-face is the most effective way of explaining the circumstances. However, there are a number of reasons why a self-disclosure statement can be useful to have completed in advance of applying for work.

  • You might be asked for a written statement as part of the application process.
  • You may be more comfortable writing rather than talking about your criminal record.
  • You may be asked at interview, and having the facts to hand can come in useful in helping you to discuss the circumstances around your record.

We normally recommend that however you disclose your criminal record, it is useful to provide the employer with some brief factual details of your criminal record in writing (even if you are disclosing verbally), so that you have evidence of what you’ve disclosed. This can also help them in making a decision. Make sure that you keep a copy of this for your own records.

For more information, see ‘disclosing to employers .

Examples of self-disclosure statements


  • These examples have been written for guidance purposes only and should not be copied.
  • Self-disclosure statements need to be tailored to the specific vacancy you are applying for.
  • They should be personal to your own situation and give a genuine account of any mitigating factors that led to your conviction and highlight what you have achieved since.
  • There is no ‘perfect template’ for a self-disclosure statement.

There are four examples below of self-disclosure statements (using fictitious details):

  • Example one describes somebody with recent unspent convictions applying for a job in a supermarket.
  • Example two describes somebody with several convictions who has served a custodial sentence. They have chosen to group their convictions together rather than deal with each one separately.
  • Example three describes somebody with a minor conviction applying for a job which is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and involves an Enhanced check.
  • Example four describes somebody who has disclosed verbally at interview and is providing written details to confirm the conviction they disclosed.
Dear Mrs Johnson,

RE: Application for the post of Supermarket Checkout Operative – Self-disclosure statement

I am applying for the post of Checkout Operative which was advertised recently in the local paper.

I have worked in retail for many years and believe that I would make an ideal candidate for this post. I am naturally friendly, helpful, have plenty of initiative and can work with minimal supervision. In my previous roles, I have gained extensive experience in offering advice to customers, processing payments and refunds, dealing with complaints and updating sales display areas.

It is important, however, that I disclose my unspent conviction to you. Just over two years ago, I received an eight month prison sentence for an overpayment of benefits. At the time of my conviction, I was going through a very difficult divorce from my husband which meant I had to leave my job and move to a new area. Although I was claiming benefits, I found it really difficult to survive financially. I managed to get myself a cash-in-hand job, working a few hours a week every now and again in my local pub. The pub landlord soon realised that he could more or less leave me to ‘run’ the pub and before long I was working full time hours and I didn’t disclose this to the Department for Work and Pensions.

I knew what I was doing was wrong and asked the pub landlord if he could give me a full time contract and pay me using the PAYE system. He told me he couldn’t and that I’d have to find another job if that’s what I wanted. For the first time in years, I felt financially secure. I just couldn’t face having to go back to using food banks and constantly having to say ‘no’ to my daughter when she asked if she could go on school trips.

When my offence was discovered, I pleaded guilty immediately. I’d never been in trouble before and I was really shocked that I received a prison sentence. Whilst in prison, I signed up to do a money management and a budgeting course which has really helped me to manage my finances more effectively. My daughter stayed with my husband during my time in prison and he started to realise just how expensive 9 year old girls can be. He’s now agreed to give me some money each month to help pay for things like school uniform etc.

I deeply regret what I did but some good has come out of it. I’m much more confident about dealing with money now. I never want to be separated from my daughter again and, having developed a much healthier relationship with my ex-husband I’d do nothing to jeopardise that. I really feel that I’ve addressed the issues that led to my offending and don’t therefore pose any risk to your organisation.

I’m sure that my experience and qualifications would make me a good fit for your vacancy and I would be happy to provide you with any further information to assist you in making a decision.

Yours sincerely

Amy Foster

Dear Mr Parker,

RE: Application for the post of Care Worker – Self-disclosure statement

I am applying for the post of Care Worker as I believe I have the experience and skills that will enable me to perform the role to a high standard. I have previously volunteered with an organisation working with the homeless and more recently I have been working with young people with physical and mental disabilities.

In my current role as Disability Support Worker, I am responsible for caring for and supporting clients with physical and mental disabilities. This involves developing personalised support programmes and managing various household and personal care tasks, including cooking, cleaning, shopping and administering medication.

The reason for this letter is that I believe it is important for me to make you aware that I have a number of unspent convictions relating to theft and possession of drugs, the last one being 4 years ago when I received a 12 month custodial sentence for burglary.

My behaviour started to go downhill following the death of my father when I was aged 14. I had a very difficult relationship with my mother who found it hard to deal with her own grief and provided me with no boundaries or supervision. I began truanting from school and fell in with a group of boys who regularly committed minor offences. They were older than me and, to be accepted, I went along with them.

The prison sentence four years ago was the wake-up call I needed. Up until then, I had received only cautions, fines and a suspended sentence. In prison, I did an NVQ in Advice and Guidance and upon release I volunteered for a charity working with the homeless. The charity clearly saw some potential in me and after three months they provided funding for me to do a Diploma in Health and Social Care.

I met my girlfriend shortly after I was released and last year she gave birth to my son. Since he was born, my relationship with my mother has improved greatly and I enjoy spending time with her. I don’t want my son to follow the path that I did and it is important to me that I support him and set a clear example of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. I am getting married next year and we are saving for a deposit on a house. My family are the most important people in the world to me and I would never do anything to jeopardise this.

As an employer, I understand that you have a responsibility towards your clients and staff and that you may be concerned about my criminal record. I hope that this letter gives you a better insight into the circumstances and how I have changed my life around since. I can provide a number of positive character references as well as references from my current and previous employer, and would be happy to discuss this in more detail face-to-face if you have any concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Dear Miss Jones,

RE: Application for the post of Classroom Assistant – Self-disclosure statement

I would like to apply for the position of Classroom Assistant as I strongly believe I have the necessary qualifications and work experience to become an integral part of your teaching faculty.

On attaining a degree in literature, I went to work as an Assistant Editor and was promoted to the position of Editor within a year where I stayed for five years. My passion for teaching, however, got the better of me and I gained the job of Teaching Assistant at a primary school.

During the past 18 months, I have had the opportunity to use my skills in a variety of tasks. I assist teachers in creating engaging classroom projects for English and I have designed activities that are both fun yet help clarify key concepts. I maintain a positive atmosphere in the classroom and believe it is important to use both theory and activities to help children learn.

However, I would like to disclose that over four years ago, I was cautioned for criminal damage following a dispute about a fence. My neighbour had instructed a building company to install a new fence between our two properties. The contractors laid studs on the ground to mark where the fence would go but these were quite clearly in the wrong place and would in effect ‘steal’ a strip of my garden. I tried to explain this reasonably to my neighbour and even provided him with copies of the Land Registry Deeds to prove this point. However, he merely told his builders to fix the first post. Out of sheer frustration, I kicked the post out of the ground. He called the police and I accepted a caution for damaging his property.

I have no previous cautions or convictions and have never been in trouble with the police before. I was under immense pressure at the time following the breakdown of my marriage and the sale of the family home and acted completely out of character. I sincerely regret my actions and can reassure you that I am no risk to your organisation.

I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the work that the school does and feel that I would be a real asset to the teaching team. I would be happy to discuss any aspect of my application with you.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Evans

Dear Mr English,

RE: Application for post of Social Worker – Self-disclosure statement

Further to my interview yesterday, I would like to confirm in writing our discussion regarding my criminal convictions.

Between 1975 and 1980, I received several fines for soliciting for prostitution and in 1983 I was found guilty of running a brothel and was given an 18 month sentence suspended for two years.

At this time, I was living with an abusive partner who coerced me into prostitution to ‘help make ends meet’. I used illegal drugs occasionally as a coping mechanism to deal with the prostitution but my partner enticed me to take more drugs, increasing my dependency and using my addiction as another means of control.

Following my conviction in 1982, I left my partner and moved to a different part of the country. Having had little formal education, I applied for a college course and gained GCSE’s and ‘A’ levels before going on to study for a BSc in Social Work, qualifying in 1989 with a 2:1.

Whilst studying, I worked on a voluntary basis for a drugs charity in an administrative role and then as a Support Worker. For the past ten years, I have worked for a large healthcare group assisting individuals with drug addiction issues to identify and manage their dependency and find new ways of coping through building self-esteem and positive attitudes.

I believe that my formal qualifications, together with my own personal experience, makes me an ideal candidate for the above position.

Very many thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss my convictions at interview and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth Fuller

More information

  1. For more information on disclosing to employers, click here.
  2. For more information on when and how to disclose to employers, click here.
  3. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

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