Do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks? The verdict

One of the most common questions we’re asked is: do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks? – and unsurprisingly so, as it’s a very important query.

First we’ll start with a quick overview of what information appears on the certificates in general.

In addition to cautions, warnings and reprimands, a Standard DBS Check shows unspent convictions as well as certain spent convictions and cautions ineligible for ‘filtering’ – and filtering is the key word here which we will discuss in more detail shortly.

An Enhanced DBS Check will also display this information, as well as relevant intelligence from the police.

As you can see, ‘filtering’ is at the heart of answering the question: do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks? – so let’s unpick this term now.

do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks?

Filtering

Filtering removes certain protected convictions and cautions from disclosure on a DBS Check.

The easiest way to clarify this is by exploring which convictions and cautions are not subject to filtering and therefore will appear on a certificate.

For individuals aged at least 18 at the time of caution, these include cautions issued under six years ago as well as convictions not resulting in a custodial sentence issued under 11 years ago.

For those aged under 18, it includes cautions given less than two years ago and convictions not resulting in a custodial sentence given under five and a half years ago.

Convictions which led to a custodial sentence are not filtered either, regardless of whether or not they were served and if an individual has more than one conviction, they will all be listed.

There are also cautions and convictions relating to a list of specific offences agreed by Parliament which must be included within a DBS Check – there are too many to list here but these are of a serious nature, relating to sexual or violent offences and relevant to safeguarding.

Do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks? In summary

Those are the key points to consider – so then, do spent convictions appear on DBS Checks?

There are some spent convictions which will always appear on DBS Checks and if you have any concerns about this, it’s worth checking the previous link for a comprehensive list of these.

Otherwise, whether or not a spent conviction will feature on a certificate depends on the age of the applicant – i.e. whether they are under or over 18 – and the date the caution or conviction was given.

The other key factors are whether the individual has more than one conviction offence and if a custodial sentence was served.

That’s the end of our run-through but if you have any other queries or doubts about any of this, it’s best to know for sure, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like some clarification.