Important DBS Changes to Reprimands & Convictions (2020)

In November 2020, major DBS changes were made to the criminal record disclosure rule regarding offences made.

Warnings, reprimands and youth cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed on Standard or Enhanced DBS Checks, but this isn’t the only rule that has been changed.

The multiple conviction rule has also been removed. This means that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of the type of offence or the amount of time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed. This article will provide a breakdown of these DBS changes and how they affect existing DBS checks.

DBS Changes – What Does This Mean For DBS Checks?

Those who have passed a certain amount of time since committing the Youth offence will no longer have this appear on a Standard or Enhanced DBS application. According to data collected by the Home Office, this change will see an extra 45,000 people a year have a ‘clean’ Standard or Enhanced DBS check.

In effect, it gives those who made mistakes in their younger years a truly fresh start and has the potential to help tens of thousands find work (paid or voluntary) easier, now that these offences won’t appear on their DBS check.

This change to Youth offences within Standard and Enhanced DBS checks can be read in further detail from the Government’s official website.

DBS Changes – Will my Current DBS Change?

Unfortunately, this change will only impact DBS applications requested on or after the 28th of November 2020. If you have already got a DBS that has an offence committed in your Youth, you would need to request a new one, which will provide you with an updated DBS certificate.

However, if you have signed up to the DBS update service, it will be updated in due course when you receive it after the 28th.

Why Were These DBS Changes Made?

In 2019, there was a Supreme Court ruling in favour of three individual DBS applicants who argued that their lives are continuing to be impacted by minor offences that were committed many, many years ago.

This resulted in a court investigation which discovered that the DBS rules were “not in accordance with the law”. This is because it breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the protection of the right to a private life.

Shortly after the ruling, the Home Office said that the change would now ensure that “those who have turned their lives around or live with the stigma of convictions from their youth are not held back”.

The ex-offenders charity, Unlock, welcomed this news, stating “The changes coming in on 28 November are a crucial first step towards achieving a fair system that takes a more balanced approach towards disclosing criminal records.”

Jennifer Twite, Head of Strategic Litigation, at Just for Kids Law said “Every year, about 25,000 youth cautions are disclosed in criminal record checks, most of which are for incidents that happened over five years ago. This new legislation will help to ensure that no child who is given a caution ends up with a lifelong criminal record that robs them of the chance to get their lives back on track.”

DBS Changes – The Impact on Spent Convictions

Simply put, convictions that fall under the criteria above, will not appear as a Spent Conviction (or any conviction) on a DBS check, when a Standard or Enhanced is requested.

If an employer wanted to find out about any of these offences, then it would have to be sensitively, and carefully asked during the interview process. Even then, it would have to have relevance towards the job that the applicant is applying for.

How To Apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check

Hopefully this article has answered your questions about the recent DBS changes. You can apply for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks for your employees via Aaron’s Department’s Online DBS system. Our online system uses automatic error checking, keeps you updated every step of the process, and provides you with support from our team of DBS experts.

When using Aaron’s Department for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks, you can take the stress out of the application process, whilst saving time and money!

If you need any other guidance on anything relating to DBS changes & checks, the answer to your question may be on our help and advice page.


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