The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (“1974 Act”) primarily exists to support the rehabilitation into employment of reformed offenders who have stayed on the right side of the law.

Under the 1974 Act, following a specified period of time which varies according to the disposal administered or sentence passed, cautions and convictions may become spent. As a result the offender is regarded as rehabilitated.

The rehabilitation period (the length of time before a caution or conviction becomes spent) is determined by the type of disposal administered or the length of the sentence imposed. Rehabilitation periods that run beyond the end of a sentence are made up of the total sentence length plus an additional period that runs from the end of the sentence, which we have called the ‘buffer period’. Other rehabilitation periods start from the date of conviction or the date the penalty was imposed.

The ‘buffer periods’ are halved for those who are under 18 at date of conviction (save for custodial sentences of six months or less where the ‘buffer period’ is 18 months).

The rehabilitation periods for sentences with additional “buffer periods” which run from the end date of the sentence are shown in the table below:

Sentence/disposal Buffer period for adults (18 and over at the time of conviction or the time the disposal is administered). This applies from the end date of the sentence (including the licence period). Buffer period for young people (under 18 at the time of conviction or the time the disposal is administered). This applies from the end date of the sentence (including the licence period).
Custodial sentence* of over 4 years, or a public protection sentence Never spent Never spent
Custodial sentence of over 30 months (2 ½ years) and up to and including 48 months (4 years) 7 years 3½ years
Custodial sentence of over 6 months and up to and including 30 months (2 ½ years) 4 years 2 years
Custodial sentence of 6 months or less 2 years 18 months
Community order or youth rehabilitation order** 1 years 6 months

If you have been sentenced for any offence and the above periods of time have not passed you must declare the offence. In this case, you must give full details of the offence, on the reverse of this form.   If the period of time has passed you do not need to mention it on your application form.

Certain Posts are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, including those involving work with children and/or vulnerable adults.  In these cases, all convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings and any other information should be disclosed.  Only relevant information will be taken into account, so disclosure will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining the position.  In additional, a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Disclosure will be requested for the successful applicant.  The Council has a policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, which will be made available on request.

If you are not sure, please contact Human Resources, Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington, by ringing (01254) 388111 for advice or information.