In July 2016 the Law Commission was requested by the Home Office to review one specific aspect of the criminal records disclosure system, known as “filtering”.
In very simple terms, the filtering system provides a framework which regulates when an individual has to disclose convictions and cautions even though they are spent. The scheme was introduced so that an individual who would otherwise be required to disclose all of his or her criminal offending history for certain purposes (such as working with children or vulnerable adults, or applying for or maintaining membership of a particular profession) would not be required to do so if the convictions were for old and minor offences.
The filtering system has been in place since 2013, but there are certain offences which are never filtered – for these offences, even though the conviction has become spent, the offender will be obliged to reveal it for certain purposes. The offences that will always have to be revealed are known as “non-filterable” offences. The list of these offences is what the Home Office asked us to assess.
The purpose of this project was to:
1.simplify and clarify the operation of filtering;
2.ensure the system deals effectively and comprehensively with conduct that presents a safeguarding risk;
3.avoid the system compelling the disclosure of minor offences where that is unnecessary.
Further information about this project is available on the Law Commission website.