Criminal Convictions

The University of Derby is committed to equal opportunities and this policy aims to ensure that individuals with criminal convictions/cautions receive fair treatment, in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The University seeks to admit the widest range of students who would benefit from our courses, seeing value in a broad range of talents, backgrounds and opportunities. We appreciate the important role that Higher Education can play in the rehabilitation process. 

A criminal record will not automatically prohibit admission to the University. The specific details of each case will be considered on an individual basis. In each instance we will review your ability to meet the skills and experience required for the course/profession and assess the impact of your criminal record upon the needs of the course/profession. We are conscious of our responsibility both to consider the needs of each applicant, ensuring they receive the support required, whilst also safeguarding the public and the University community.

In line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 details of spent convictions will only be requested for courses considered to be exempt from the act due to the possibility of working with children and vulnerable adults. 

First and foremost an offer will be made based on your academic profile. Upon receipt of the offer, and if you have any relevant unspent Criminal Convictions, you must contact the Admissions Team using the information provided in your offer letter.

If you then declare a Criminal Conviction we will write to you via email requesting further information. Further information could be in the form of a written personal statement from you explaining the details of the offence(s) and the circumstances around them, consent from you to contact your Probation or Support Officer (if applicable) for a detailed report or risk assessment and a relevant character reference.

The relationship between an applicant/student, the University and third parties e.g. placement providers is based on trust, confidence and professionalism. Failure to declare a relevant criminal conviction/caution and provide the requested information therefore means a risk assessment cannot be made. This could result in your application being withdrawn or becoming subject to student disciplinary procedures after enrolment.

When an applicant’s criminal records checks have been cleared by the University and therefore accepted for entry onto the course, they would be expected to self-declare any new cautions/convictions for review. If an applicant is yet to enrol, they would need to inform the Admissions team at the earliest opportunity to ensure continuation with the course of study. Or if after enrolment, then they would need to inform their dedicated Student Liaison Officer or Programme Leader. Any new information will need to be reconsidered under the same procedures as described above and could affect an applicant’s/student’s place on the course.

The University will treat your information confidentially.

What is the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974?

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 aims to help people who have been convicted of certain criminal offences and have not re-offended since being convicted. People with few or minor convictions will therefore be able to ‘put their past behind them’ and be treated as everyone else with regard to employment and equal opportunity.

Please note that you do not need to include convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands which are deemed ‘protected’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013). Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service website. 

Further information on filtering can be found on the Government website.

What does ‘spent’ mean?

You are required to declare any relevant ‘unspent’ criminal convictions/cautions. Whilst some criminal convictions are ‘spent’ (forgotten) after a certain period according to the offence, other offences are never spent and these must be declared. For independent guidance you can contact Unlock or Nacro so that you are not disclosing any information we do not need to know. 

More information on offences and rehabilitation periods can be found on the Government website.

What is a relevant criminal conviction?

Relevant criminal offences include convictions, cautions, admonitions, reprimands, final warnings, bind over orders or similar involving one or more of the following:

If your conviction involved an offence similar to the above, but was made by a court outside of Great Britain, and that conviction would not be considered as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you need to provide further details as requested.

Privacy statement

The information that you supply on your application will be held and processed in line with the Data Protection Act 2018, GDPR and subsequent legislation.

The information will be used by the University of Derby (as Data Controller) to assess your suitability for the course you have applied for and ensure you receive the support you require, as well as protecting and supporting the community within the University.

We may contact you to request further information or seek your approval to contact external bodies for example Probation Service, Support Workers.

The data you provide will be anonymised and shared internally with members of the Criminal Conviction Panel.

Guide to the University of Derby Criminal Conviction Process