The Commons Justice Committee have criticised the current rules surrounding the disclosure of youth crime, saying that the system is “wholly inappropriate”.
MP’s have called for a complete overhaul of the present filtering process which regulates which cautions and convictions must be disclosed. The government has a list of 942 offences which cannot be filtered out of DBS checks, which range from serious to relatively minor.
The Committee have even said that the existing system may be in breach of the UK’s obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
People are not required to disclose past convictions which have been “spent” (carried out eleven years ago for adults and five and a half years for young offenders). But some employers request complete disclosure. And, depending on the nature of the employment, for instance of work with children, employers are legally obliged to carry out checks to reduce risk.
The current system has been criticised by many as creating an obstruction for employment, housing, education and insurance, even for offences committed in the distant past, or for very minor offences.
Bob Neill, chair of the Justice Select Committee, stated that the current system creates a barrier to rehabilitation, as well as the access restrictions caused for employment and education. He said that the UK system should be “radically revised” and that we need “something more sophisticated” than the current filtering process which regulates which cautions and convictions must be disclosed.
The Committee suggests that the existing system be replaced with a more customised list which reflects which offences must be disclosed according to the nature of the employment. It also suggested that the current guidelines on when a youth offence should be considered “spent” be reduced.
The government have said that they will publish their response in due course.