Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

The impact of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act  (ROA) is likely to be considered as a part of the review by the Ministry of Justice and the criminal records regime.  We will keep you informed as details emerge.

As a short summary, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 applies to England, Scotland and Wales, and is aimed at helping people who have been convicted of a criminal offence and who have not re-offended since.

Anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence where the sentence was under 2.5 years in prison, benefits from the Act, so long s/he or she is not convicted again during the ‘rehabilitation period’.  Their conviction then becomes ‘spent’.  It is the sentence imposed by the courts that counts, even if it is a suspended sentence, not the time actually spent in prison.

Once a conviction is ‘spent’, the convicted person does not have to reveal it or admit its existence in most circumstances.  However, there are two main exceptions which relate to people working with children or vulnerable adults. In these cases someone applying for a role is required to reveal all convictions, both spent and unspent.  For further information, see  the Guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice.