A CRB check – Could it Blight Your Life?

Lord Dyson, Master of The Rolls has ruled that it is unlawful for people to be forced to disclose minor offences committed when they were young. He has cited Article Eight of The Human Rights Act – the right to family and private life.

In Education, all members of staff are required to be in possession of an enhanced CRB certificate (now known as Disclosure and Barring Service – DBS). This certificate will show all convictions and cautions, regardless of their relevance to the job and including those that are considered to be “spent” under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Lord Dyson said that this is “disproportionate” to the aim.

Many people commit minor offences when young and, as adults, bitterly regret their behaviour, having learnt from it. Why then should this affect the ability to get a responsible job later in life?

If the law is changed so that the certificate filtered out any minor or old convictions how would this change things? Fear of carrying a record for life would be removed as a deterrent to stop people committing minor crimes when they are young. Is it possible that a record of minor misdemeanours committed when young points to an unreliable adult in later life? Should employers be able to make up their own minds about who to employ knowing they are in full possession of all the background information?

Let us not forget Soham and Ian Huntley – he would not have got the job if full background checks had been in place. Whilst not suggesting that stealing a bike at seven makes us all potential Ian Huntleys, the difficulty is in deciding where to draw the line.

What should employers know and how much should be kept private?

Let us know your thoughts below.

Mr Chips@Smart

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