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Policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of your offences.

  • As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to assess applicant's suitability for positions of trust, Durham County Council complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.
  • Durham County Council is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff or users of its services, regardless of offending background.
  • We have a written policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, which is made available to all Disclosure applicants at the outset of the recruitment process.
  • We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.
  • A Disclosure is only requested after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a Disclosure is required, job adverts and job descriptions will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of the individual being offered the position.
  • Where a Disclosure is to form part of the recruitment process, we strongly encourage all applicants called for interview to provide details of their criminal record at an early stage in the application process. We request that this information is sent under separate, confidential cover, to the Lead Officer responsible for the appointment. We guarantee that this information will only be seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.
  • Unless the nature of the position allows Durham County Council to ask questions about your entire criminal record, we will only ask about 'unspent' convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • All staff with a responsibility for Recruitment and Selection must be aware of their legal obligations under existing employment legislation.  The lead officer for the appointment should have ideally undertaken the Council's recognised training or refresher modules on Diversity and Recruitment and Selection as well as having a good understanding of the Recruitment and Selection Policy, Procedure and Toolkit.  We also ensure that they have received appropriate guidance in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • At interview, or in a separate discussion, we ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment. We give every subject of a DBS Disclosure a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.
  • We undertake to discuss any matter revealed in a Disclosure with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.
  • Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us.  This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background.