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Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act: Employer factsheet

The Government has introduced reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, implemented on 10th March 2014. This factsheet summarises the key changes for employers.
Three main changes have been made to the Act:
  • Increasing the length of maximum sentence capable of becoming spent
  • Starting the rehabilitation period from the end of the sentence
  • Reducing most rehabilitation periods for adults and children

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is designed to improve the chances of offenders being fully rehabilitated into society by removing some of the barriers that they face. It defines the period of time during which all cautions and convictions are regarded as unspent and must be disclosed in certain instances, for example, when applying for employment or insurance.  When a caution or conviction has become spent, the offender is treated as rehabilitated in respect of that offence and is not obliged to declare it for most purposes.

This factsheet provides an overview of how the Act has changed as of 10 March 2014. It also details the new rehabilitation periods for adults and children.