New legislation has come into force meaning criminal convictions become spent after a shorter time, reducing the period that individuals are legally required to declare them to their employers.

Section 193 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into force on 28 October 2023. It makes the following changes on declaring custodial convictions:

Type of conviction Previous length of time required to disclose New length of time required to disclose
Custodial sentence of over 4 years Never spent 7 years although certain offences are exempt and never spent including offences classified in the Sentencing Code as ‘serious violent, sexual and terrorism offences’
Custodial sentence of 2 ½ years – 4 years 7 years 4 years
Custodial sentence of 1 – 2 ½ years 4 years 4 years
Custodial sentence of 6 months – 1 year 4 years 1 year
Custodial sentence of up to six months 2 years 1 year


The revised time periods are extended in the event of re-offending during the declaration period.

A new conviction attracts its own disclosure period and both the previous conviction and new conviction need to be declared until the end of the original conviction’s active. If there is a new conviction, the declaration period is extended to  the end of the new disclosure period.

It should be noted the time periods detailed above relate to offenders who are over 18 at the time of conviction. The period of required disclosure is altered (and slightly lower) where the offender was under 18 at the time of conviction.

Employers need to make sure any forms and systems are updated to reflect the new time periods. The changes will not impact on roles where basic or enhanced DBS checks are required.


2nd November 2023

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