19th November 2020
In July 2020, progressive changes to the filtering rules in England and Wales were announced by the government. These changes to the rules on what is disclosed and removed from standard or enhanced criminal record checks were issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in response to a Supreme Court ruling in 2019, following campaigning by Unlock over many years. While a date for the implementation of these changes had not been confirmed, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that they are expected to come into effect on 28 November 2020.
Filtering rules determine the convictions and cautions that will no longer appear on standard and enhanced criminal record checks in England and Wales. Some cautions and spent convictions can become ‘protected’; once protected, they are ‘filtered’, meaning they won’t be disclosed in either standard or enhanced DBS certificates. Similar to the practice in Ireland, rules around disclosure of convictions are separate to filtering rules.
There are two main changes to the current filtering rules:
Unlock has produced a guide giving an outline of the changes, and a series of examples to help understand how and where the new rules will apply.
The implementation of these new rules follows changes made by the DBS to their IT system to guarantee that criminal records disclosure mirrors the new legislation. By the government’s own analysis, approximately 45,000 people are expected to benefit from these new rules.
While there are two key changes to the filtering rules being implemented by the end of this month, many rules remain the same:
While this is a welcome step in the right direction, there is still scope for more progressive changes to allow more people with convictions histories to move on with their lives.
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.