|This Code of Practice is published under section 122 of the Police Act 1997 ("The Act") in connection with the use of information provided to registered persons ("Disclosure information") under Part V of that Act.|
Disclosure information is information contained in criminal record certificates under section 113 of the Act (which are referred to in this Code as "Standard Disclosures"), or
contained in enhanced criminal record certificates under section 115 of the Act (referred to in this Code as "Enhanced Disclosures"), or
Except where indicated otherwise, the Code of Practice applies to all recipients of Disclosure information - that is to say:
Purpose of the Code
The Code of Practice is intended to ensure - and to provide assurance to those applying for Standard and Enhanced Disclosures - that the information released will be used fairly.
The Code also seeks to ensure that sensitive personal information is handled and stored appropriately and is kept for only as long as necessary. Guidance to employers on other matters will be issued separately.
|Obligations of the Code|
These are as follows:
1. Fair use of Disclosure information
Recipients of Disclosure information shall:
observe guidance issued or supported by the Criminal Records Bureau ("the Bureau") on the use of Disclosure information - and, in particular, recipients of Disclosure information shall not unfairly discriminate against the subject of Disclosure information on the basis of conviction or other details revealed.
have a written policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, so that a copy can be given to all applicants for positions where a Disclosure will be requested.
ensure that application forms for positions where Disclosures will be requested contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of a successful application, so that applicants are aware of the situation;
Recipients of Disclosure information must ensure that Disclosure information is not passed to persons not authorised to receive it under section 124 of the Act. Under section 124, unauthorised Disclosure is an offence;
must ensure that Disclosures and the information they contain are available only to those who need to have access in the course of their duties;
must securely store Disclosures and the information that they contain;
should retain neither Disclosures nor a record of Disclosure information contained within them for longer than is required for the particular purpose. In general, this should be no later than six months after the date on which recruitment or other relevant decisions have been taken, or after the date on which any dispute about the accuracy of the Disclosure information has been resolved. This period should be exceeded only in very exceptional circumstances which justify retention for a longer period.
Registered persons shall have a written security policy covering the correct handling and safe-keeping of Disclosure information; and
ensure that a body or individual at whose request applications for Disclosures are countersigned has such a written policy, and, if necessary, provide a model for that body or individual to adopt.
Registered persons shall:
4. Umbrella Bodies
(a) An Umbrella Body is one which has registered with the Bureau on the basis that it will countersign applications on behalf of others who are not registered.
(b) Umbrella Bodies must satisfy themselves that those on whose behalf they intend to countersign applications are likely to ask exempted questions under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
(c) Umbrella Bodies must take reasonable steps to ensure that those to whom they pass Disclosure information observe the Code of Practice.
5. Failure to comply with the Code of Practice
The Bureau is empowered to refuse to issue a Disclosure if it believes that a registered person, or someone on whose behalf a registered person has acted, has failed to comply with the Code of Practice.