This page was designed to draw together what was happening when the changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 came into force in March 2014. Although this page is no longer updated, it is a useful reference page.

13th February 2014 – We’ve received a letter from the Ministry of Justice confirming that the changes are coming into force on the 10th March 2014.

Updating our guidance

We produced detailed guidance on the law as it now stands. This is quite lengthy, and focuses on some of the more technical aspects of the changes. We will be regularly reviewing and updating this as and when appropriate. It forms part of a comprehensive information section on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Producing practical materials

We produced practical materials that help to explain the changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which came into force on the 10th March 2014. These resources will help you to understand whether convictions are now regarded as ‘spent’ under the reforms. They include:

  1. An ‘Is it spent?’ poster
  2. A brief guide

They are available to view above and you can download copies free of charge from the downloads section.

Providing updates

We published an update on the 12th June 2014, looking at a number of issues that have been highlighted since the changes came into force. We’ve continued to publish updates through our monthly emails.

Updating our Disclosure Calculator

We updated our online tool,, which helps people to work out whether their convictions are spent under the Act.

Raising awareness

We have been doing our best to try and make people aware of these changes, both in terms of how people will benefit and how the changes could (and should) got further.

We issued a press release. We wrote articles for Criminal Law & Justice Weekly and Open Democracy. We also wrote a blog for our online magazine, theRecord, asking whether the changes are enough.

For prisons in particular, we recorded a piece for National Prison Radio, which went out in the Prime Time slot. We also published something in the next issue in Inside Time, the prison newspaper.

More broadly, we sent out our updated materials to prisons, probation areas, job centres, employment support programmes and voluntary agencies. You can download copies free of charge from the downloads section of our information hub, where you can also find out how to get hold of hard-copies.

If you know of people and organisations that might value this information, please forward them a link to this update.

Supporting practitioners and organisations – Running ‘Masterclasses’

To help share our knowledge and understanding of these changes, we ran various masterclasses for practitioners and organisations. More details can be found here.

Technical queries

We are keeping a track of the technical elements to the Act that we are awaiting clarification from the Ministry of Justice on. This is a useful reference when reading our guidance or using our Disclosure Calculator. We will be adding to this based on the queries that we receive, and providing updates as and when we have them available.

Working with others

We worked with Business in the Community, who produced a Guide and Top Tips for telling an employer about your criminal record. This guidance is for people with criminal convictions and their advisers. If you (or the person you support) want to get back to work but are worried about disclosing a criminal conviction, this accessible guidance helps you to:

  • Understand your criminal record
  • Check when you need to tell an employer about your criminal conviction(s)
  • Decide how you will tell an employer about your conviction(s)

Download the resources from the Business in the Community website

We have also been working closely with the Ministry of Justice on their guidance on the changes to the ROA. Although it’s not written in the style that we would choose, we provided comments on earlier draft versions to make sure that it was as clear as possible, and will continue to raise queries on an ongoing basis in the hope that they will clarify their guidance further.
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