Employers have been banned from making potential new recruits apply for Criminal Record Checks on themselves.
Legislation that came into effect on March 10 now prevents bosses from demanding their employees order enforced Subject Access Requests on their criminal records history.
Section 56 of the Data Protection Act now prevents employers from insisting employees use their subject access rights under the DPA to obtain and provide certain records as a condition of employment.
It also prevents contracts from requiring certain records as a condition for providing or receiving a service.
Section 56 does not, however, prevent such requests where the record is required by law or is justified in the public interest.
Jonathan Bamford, the Information Commissioner’s Office‘s Head of Strategic Liaison, said: “Enforced subject access request is a practice that, at its worse, costs people jobs.”
Employers’ alternatives to enforced Subject Access Requests
As discussed, this “backdoor” process of gaining Criminal Records Checks has been outlawed with this updated legislation.
However, there are already legitimate ways that employers can obtain the necessary DBS Checks – ways which are more timely, legal and convenient.
Employees can be assured that any hiring process will be safe and fair and their rights will be adhered to.
No longer able to use enforced subject access requests, employers are now required to use the more formal criminal records application processes that exist in the UK for this purpose – such as obtaining a Basic Criminal Records Check with the applicant’s permission.
The uCheck basic criminal record application system is publicly available to applicants (without pre-registration) and to employers after registering to use the system. It ensures a rapid online application with a paper certificate arriving through the post in 14 days.
The Basic Criminal Records Checks will show up unspent convictions only. This is compliant with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the recent Data Protection Act legislation.
You can be safe and secure in the knowledge that any recruitment decisions will only be made with the correct, legally obtained information.
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