Criminal Convictions - Policies - University of Derby

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.

To assist us in this assessment all applicants are required to provide details of unspent criminal records at initial application stage.  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. 

All applications are reviewed for academic suitability first and foremost. If an applicant is suitable for an offer we will then contact you for further information regarding your criminal record.

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  Failure to declare a relevant criminal conviction/caution could result in your application being withdrawn or becoming subject to student disciplinary procedures after enrolment.

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:

  • Any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm.
  • Offences listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003.
  • The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking.
  • Offences involving firearms.
  • Offences involving arson.
  • Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006.

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.

Guide to the University of Derby Criminal Conviction Process