Protected offence guidance for applicants

If you are an applicant for registration that has received a fixed penalty notice, caution or conviction, you should read this guidance and decide whether it is protected by law. If it is protected it does not need to be declared when you apply for registration. If you do tell us about a protected offence, we can't take them into account when we assess your application for registration.

As a UK-wide regulator, our overarching objective is to protect the public across all four countries of the UK. We have powers to require all applicants to disclose their criminal past. These powers* apply equally to applicants from any part of the UK or overseas. This means that regardless of where in the world you received your conviction, caution or fixed penalty notice, you need to apply this law and the guidance below when deciding whether you need to declare the matter to us when you apply for registration.

What is a protected caution?

A caution is protected, and you don't need to tell us about it if:

  • more than six years have passed since you received the caution (or more than two years have passed if you were under the age of 18 at the time of the caution) and
  • it is not for a ‘listed offence’ (see below).

What is a protected conviction?

A conviction is protected and you don’t need to tell us about it if:

  • it is not for a ‘listed offence’ (see below) and
  • you did not receive a custodial sentence and
  • you have not been convicted of any other offence at any time and
  • more than 11 years have passed since the date of conviction if you were over 18 when convicted or more than five years and six months have passed if you were under the age of 18 when convicted.

Listed offences – when you need to tell us about an offence that is listed

You must tell us about any conviction or caution received for a listed offence. Listed offences include serious violent or sexual offences and other offences, which are relevant to the role of a registered doctor.

They also include equivalent offences for those committed outside of the UK.

You can find the offences that are listed, and therefore will never be filtered from a criminal record, and that you must declare on the Disclosure and Barring Service website.

Please note, advice from the Disclosure and Barring Service that it is not possible to capture a definitive list of all equivalent offences under the law of all other jurisdictions. Where you are aware that you have committed an offence overseas which may be equivalent to an offence in the UK you should seek independent expert or legal advice to ensure you provide information that is truthful and accurate.

When you don’t need to tell us about a fixed penalty notice

You don’t need to declare fixed penalty notices you have received for motoring offences.

You also don't need to tell us about fixed penalty notices issued in Scotland. This follows amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) which specifically provides that fixed penalty notices issued in Scotland are protected from disclosure.

Further information

The following organisations may be able to provide further information or advice to you about criminal offences and when they are protected:

Disclosure and Barring Service

Website: www.gov.uk/government/collections/dbs-filtering-guidance
Customer Service: 0870 9090 811

NACRO Resettlement Advice Service

Website: www.nacro.org.uk
Helpline: 020 7840 1212

Unlock

Website: www.unlock.org.uk
Helpline: 01634 247 350

*The powers are set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 ('the Exceptions Order') as amended by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013.