You will be asked at the application stage to complete a declaration of any criminal convictions that you have that are unspent (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).
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 but have not re-offended since.
Any unspent convictions will be considered on an individual basis, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the offence. If you have a conviction which is now considered spent, this does not have to be declared. There are, however, certain convictions and jail terms which remain unspent for life.
The two main exceptions relate to working with the elderly, sick or vulnerable. If a person wants to apply for a position involving working with children or working with the elderly, sick or vulnerable, they are required to reveal all convictions, both spent and unspent.
Anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence, and received a sentence of not more than 2.5 years in prison, benefits as a result of the Act, if he or she is not convicted again during a specified period otherwise known as the 'rehabilitation period'. If the person does not re-offend during this rehabilitation period, they become a 'rehabilitated person', and their conviction becomes 'spent'.