Should I be accepting a caution if I am a professional?

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, criminal convictions and cautions that become ‘spent’ do not have to be disclosed unless they fall within the exceptions set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions) Order 1975.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, as amended (the “Exceptions Order”) schedule 1, Part I sets out the following professions that are exempt, meaning the caution/conviction will be disclosed regardless of whether it is spent or unspent. The professions are:

  1. Medical practitioner.
  2. Barrister (in England and Wales), advocate (in Scotland), solicitor.
  3. Chartered accountant, certified accountant.
  4. Dentist, dental hygienist, dental auxiliary.
  5. Veterinary surgeon.
  6. Nurse, midwife.
  7. Ophthalmic optician, dispensing optician.
  8. Pharmaceutical chemist.
  9. Registered teacher (in Scotland).
  10. Any profession to which the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960 applies and which is undertaken following registration under that Act.

Certain cautions and convictions can be filtered off of the standard and enhanced DBS checks after a certain period of time providing, they are not on the specified list of offences that can never be filtered.

Which means once the filtering rules apply, even if the profession is on the exceptions order list, you will no longer need to disclose your caution or conviction if it is protected.

Protected cautions and convictions do not need to be disclosed unless the job or activity is one which is of the utmost integrity. These jobs and activities require full disclosure.

A specified offence is one which is serious and which relates to sexual offending, violent offending and/or are relevant to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. The full list of these specified offences can be found on the DBS website.

There are a small number of jobs or activities for which the utmost integrity is required. In order to maintain public trust and confidence, full disclosure of all convictions and cautions, including protected cautions and convictions, must be made. These are generally jobs or activities relating to national security, police constables, judicial appointments and firearms certificates. You will be informed by the employer, organisation or licencing body if full disclosure is required when applying for these jobs or activities.

Before accepting a caution, it is important to speak with a solicitor to understand the implications of either a) accepting the caution or b) not accepting the caution and potentially being charged and convicted.

Either of the above options can have a negative effect on your career and result in your regulatory body taking regulatory action against you.

If you are a professional and are seeking advice whether to accept a caution, please get in contact by calling 0207 632 4300 to speak to one of the members of our team:

James Saunders, Steve Garratt, Tom Airey, Amber Richardson and Anusha Balachandre.


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