Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

14th January 2016

Prior conviction

I am working in drug rehab providing help to vulnerable adults. I have applied for a DBS check. I have a conviction from the 80's for having an offensive weapon. I was fined £50 as the circumstances were fairly innocent. Should this effect my employment? I thoroughly enjoy my work and at 53 I feel I would not find work that was so rewarding, but I have started to look at other options. It seems extraordinary that something like this could have such an effect on me 30 years later.

Dear Chris,

The legislation relating to DBS checks does prohibit people with certain convictions from working in Registered Adult Social Care.

In most cases, the disclosure that will be sent to you will identify any previous convictions. You will be expected to show the disclosure to your employer or potential employer.

There are two key points here:

  • In your application you must disclose any previous convictions.
  • A conviction does not mean that you will not be employed. There are several points that the employer must take into account:
    • The seriousness of the offence and the relevance to the job being applied for;
    • The length of time since the conviction;
    • Was this a one off offence or part of a series of offences?
    • What you have said about what occurred;
    • Whether you disclosed the conviction.

An offence from 30 years ago with no other convictions is unlikely to have an impact on your employment providing you are open and honest about it with your employer.

I hope this is helpful. Do not forget you must be open and tell your employer.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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