Thousands of minor offenders are to have their criminal records wiped clean in a major overhaul of legislation.
Convictions resulting in a non-custodial sentence will be filtered from record checks after 11 years for adults and five-and-a-half years for young offenders, the Home Office announced.
Cautions will be filtered from record checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau, after six years for adults and two years for young offenders.
Serious violent and sexual offences, offences with a jail sentence and some other offences will remain on checks. A conviction will only be filtered if there is no other offence on the individual’s record.
The move comes after the Court of Appeal ruled that the law which requires people to disclose all previous convictions to certain employers is a breach of human rights.
The changes will affect thousands of volunteers and workers who apply for jobs that require a DBS check each year including teachers, doctors, nurses and care home workers.
It means that old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer appear on checks, which employers request for positions where the applicant will be working unsupervised with children and vulnerable adults.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Minister for Criminal Information, said: “The protection of children and vulnerable groups is of paramount importance to this government.
“Criminal records checks are an important tool for employers to use in making informed safeguarding decisions.
“This new system of checks strikes a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into people’s lives.”