Understanding Filtering of Convictions in DBS Checks – 2024


Introduction – The Filtering of Convictions in DBS Checks

Filtering of Convictions happens during the DBS processes. When an individual applies for a job that involves working with vulnerable groups, they may be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The purpose of this check is to assess an individual’s criminal record and identify any convictions or cautions that may pose a risk to vulnerable groups.

However, not all convictions or cautions are relevant to the position being applied for, and some may have occurred a long time ago. This is where filtering of convictions is important.


What Is The Filtering Of Convictions?

The filtering of convictions is the process by which certain convictions and cautions are removed from a DBS check result. This means that they will not be disclosed to the employer or organisation requesting the check.

The aim of filtering convictions is to ensure that individuals are not unfairly penalised for past mistakes that are no longer relevant to their current circumstances.


Who Is Eligible For Filtering?

The eligibility for filtering of convictions depends on several factors, including the age of the individual at the time of the conviction, the nature and severity of the offence, as well as the length of time since the conviction.

Generally, only minor offences or those committed a long time ago are eligible for filtering. The DBS has specific guidelines in place to determine which offences are eligible for filtering, DBS Filtering Guidelines, and these guidelines are regularly reviewed and updated. There are certain offences that will never be filtered and will always be disclosed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate (unless they relate to a youth caution). These are ‘specified offences’ and are usually of a sexual or violent nature or are relevant to safeguarding vulnerable adults and also children. You can find this list here.

Filtering of convictions


The Types Of Offences Eligible For Filtering

There are two types of offences that are eligible for filtering: protected convictions and protected cautions.

Protected convictions refer to those that are considered minor offences and occurred a long time ago. For example, a conviction for a minor driving offence that occurred over 11 years ago may be eligible for filtering.

Protected cautions refer to cautions that are considered minor and occurred over 6 years ago. These are usually non-violent offences, such as minor theft or possession of drugs for personal use.

The table below shows the information that is included on Standard and Enhanced DBS checks:

A table to show how the Filtering of Convictions applies


The Effect of Filtering on Employment Opportunities

Filtering of convictions can have a significant impact on an individual’s employment opportunities.

Without filtering, a conviction or caution may appear on a DBS check result, and this may deter employers from hiring the individual. This can be particularly damaging for those who have made mistakes in the past but have since turned their lives around and are now seeking employment.

By filtering out minor and historical offences, individuals are given a fair chance to compete for jobs that require a DBS check.


Update: 28th October 2023

As of the 28th of October 2023, there has been a minor update to the Filtering of Convictions rules. You can read more about this DBS Update in our recent article: What the Changes to DBS Filtering Rules Mean For You


Summary: Filtering of Convictions

In conclusion, the filtering of convictions is a process that allows individuals with minor and historical convictions and cautions to have a fair chance at employment opportunities that require a DBS check.

The eligibility for filtering depends on several factors, including the nature and severity of the offence and the length of time since the conviction.


Further Reading – Filtering Of Convictions


About The Author

Kellie Dawson

Kellie Dawson

Kellie is our in-house legal expert when it comes to DBS checks. With a background in the legal sector, she has become a recognised authority in this area.


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Shaun Elliott
Shaun Elliott
1 year ago

When I was in my teens I did get a criminal record im now in my late 50s and stil get worked up when I send for a DBS check although I’ve never been refused a job on my past convictions