Rethinking Disclosure by the State

Any change to the system of criminal conviction disclosure should enable a more proportionate and contextualised system of disclosure which recognises and minimises multifaceted harms caused by requirements to disclose previous convictions.

Both UK public inquiries which have heavily influenced the escalating availability of criminal record disclosure information, (Cullen and Bichard) respond to extreme and heinous incidents, (Dunblane and Sowham)  where the perpetrators had no recordable previous criminal convictions. Similarly, the Jimmy Saville Investigation report by Dame Janet Smith, provides no evidence that he was never convicted despite being confirmed as such a prolific sexual abuser of children.

Therefore, the escalation of criminal record disclosure by the state  between 1997 and 2013 was driven by the availability of technology and populist ideology, rather than balanced and evidence based proposals about any benefits associated with state disclosure.

To remedy this, Recruit With Conviction is calling for a thorough evaluation of criminal conviction disclosure by the state which includes the following considerations:

  • an examination of research evidence about using previous criminal convictions as a proxy for risk
  • an evaluation of human rights and international comparisons of conviction disclosure by the state
  • an understanding of the multifaceted negative psychological impacts caused by requirements to disclose previous convictions
  • a poverty impact assessment on the way that requirements to disclose, escalate poverty among people from the most deprived neighbourhoods.
  • The existence of other protection arrangements such as Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements, the Risk Management Authority, Criminal Justice Social Work services etc.

The above is an extract from the Recruit With Conviction Response to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups and the Disclosure of Criminal Information Consultation July 2018.