Welfare Scotland is committed to best and fair practice when it comes to employing or engaging the services of a volunteer with a criminal record. It is important for us to ensure we do not discriminate against people applying to work for or with the organisation and we have this policy and process in place to ensure this doesn’t happen. In referring to the ‘Act’ in this document we are referring to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
For each vacancy (paid or unpaid) we will list the prerequisite experience alongside a statement regarding criminal convictions and we will confirm if the position is an exempted role under the Act. We will use the wording ‘This role is an exempted role and requires the disclosure of all criminal convictions regardless of when they were incurred’ to ensure it is clear. These exempted roles will be the exception rather than the rule.
Peer roles and special requirements
Some positions will call for representatives to join or lead a project tasked with gaining input and insight from people who have been convicted of a criminal offence. In this capacity we may specify we would like applications only from persons who have a criminal record and such positions will be clearly marked. This type of disclosure is called a positive declaration.
In keeping with the Unlock ‘Ban the Box’ campaign we do not ask applicants to disclose criminal convictions on our application forms.
We will not ask applicants about criminal convictions during interviews conducted face to face, via the telephone or video conferencing services. We want applicants to relax and concentrate on their interview.
When an applicant has been shortlisted we will ask applicants to complete a confidential self-disclosure form detailing any criminal convictions relevant to the role. We will specify on this disclosure form if the position applied for is exempt from the Act and confirm the level of disclosure required. This information when provided is confidential and will only be shared on a need to know basis within the organisation.
Following self-disclosure submission
The completed self-disclosure form will be considered by the recruitment panel who will consider if the conviction(s) disclosed give rise to any serious concerns. The panel will consider the nature of the offence recorded, the date of its commission in relation to the date of application and any explanation or background information submitted on the self-disclosure form. If the panel has serious concerns they may ask for further information and may ask the applicant to take part in a discussion where they can ask for clarification. If there are no serious concerns raised then the application will proceed.
Criminal record checks
Some roles will be exempt from the Act and will require the completion of a criminal record check. If a criminal record check is required this will be clearly noted on the role specification before the applicant applies and any cost will be met by Welfare Scotland.
Any information provided about criminal convictions will be held securely and will only be accessible on a ‘need to know’ basis. When an applicant starts we will tell them who within the organisation has been advised of their criminal record.
Recording of convictions on record
Convictions disclosed by successful applicants are generalised on the record within 30 days of appointment. This means that we remove the specifics of the offences and any background information submitted and will instead use general offence classifications used on the ISCJIS Chargesort.
Convictions obtained while employed or active as a volunteer with Welfare Scotland
All employees and volunteers are required to make the organisation aware of any convictions obtained while working or volunteering with the organisation. This disclosure should be made within 7 days of a conviction. Convictions obtained while working or volunteering with us would trigger a review process whereby the conviction and any background information or specifics can be discussed with the employee or volunteer alongside any impact on their work and the reputation of the organisation.
Version 1.0 – Last updated August 2017