Aim of this information
In May 2013, the Government introduced a ‘filtering’ process to comply with a Court of Appeal ruling. This means that some old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer be disclosed on standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS).
Filtering is a complex issue and this information aims to set out how the system works, how long it takes for cautions and convictions to be filtered and which offences are likely to be eligible.
This information forms part of our disclosing to employers section.
Why is this important?
If you are applying for a job which requires a standard or enhanced DBS check, all cautions and convictions will be disclosed unless they are eligible for filtering.
It’s important to know therefore if your caution or conviction is filterable or not. If it is, it will not appear on your DBS certificate and you will not legally need to disclose it to an employer.
How filtering works
Filtering is similar to the rehabilitation periods under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. However, instead of you having to work out if your conviction is spent and therefore not disclosed on a basic check, you have to establish if your conviction is filterable, which means it will not be disclosed on a standard or enhanced check.
Filtered convictions will be removed automatically from a DBS check. This means you do not have to disclose filtered convictions when applying for jobs that require a DBS check. You can legally withhold any convictions that would be filtered.
What filtering applies to
If you have multiple cautions these can be filtered, so long as the offences are eligible (see box 1 below), and the relevant time period (see box 2 below), has passed. A caution for an offence that is not filterable will always be disclosed on a DBS check.
One conviction that did not lead to a custodial or suspended sentence can be filtered, as long as the offence is eligible (see box 1 below), and the relevant time (see box 2 below), has passed. However, if you have two convictions they will never be filtered, so will always be disclosed on a DBS check.
Box 1 – Examples of type of offences that are eligible or not eligible for filtering
Box 2 – Filtering periods
DBS checks – Filtering Flowchart
This flowchart will help you to work out whether your conviction is filterable or not.
Frequently asked questions
A filtered disposal may also continue to be considered by the DBS for the purposes of making a barring decision.
There is no such ability to add a filtered disposal back into a standard disclosure certificate.
- For practical self-help information – More information is avaliable in our disclosing to employers and understanding you criminal record sections
- To read personal stories – You can read stories about this posted on theRecord, our online magazine, under the category/tag of filtering
- Our policy work – Read about the policy work we’re doing on filtering and how it does not go far enough
- Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline
Help us to add value to this information. You can:
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- Send your feedback directly to us
- Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online forum
- Share your personal story by contributing to our online magazine, theRecord
- Help us challenge this issue –DBS filtering and how it does not go far enough