Case study – Misleading question on a support organisation’s referral form
We were recently contacted by an individual who had been referred by his local job centre to an organisation that ran a job club assisting individuals to get back into work. He was very concerned that the organisation’s referral form asked a question that he believed was misleading and could have led him to disclose his spent conviction. The question stated:
Have you ever been convicted of: * Sexual Offences Act 2003, Arson, Violent Behaviour, None
Are you currently subject to any: * Court orders, Licence Probation, MAPPA arrangements, None
We reassured the individual that irrespective of the wording of the question, there was no legal requirement for him to disclose his spent conviction.
We contacted the organisation to raise our concerns about the misleading question, explaining that under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, individuals seeking to join a job club were only required to disclose unspent convictions. Therefore, in our opinion, the declaration was misleading and could lead people to disclose information that the organisation legally was not entitled to hold.
The organisation contacted us, thanking us for making them aware of our concerns. They informed us that their referral form would be amended, making it compliant with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA).
We subsequently checked the referral form and found they have totally removed all questions relating to criminal records.
This case demonstrates how organisations may believe they have the right to ask certain questions to assist with their referral procedure, but fail to follow their responsibilities under disclosure legislation. This can lead to misleading questions being asked, resulting in confusion and individuals over-disclosing or being discouraged from coming forward.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s work with organisations.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
- MP puts #FairChecks on Boris Johnson's radar Posted on: Jul 3rd, 2020
Boris Johnson was called out this week for “dithering” in sorting…
- Summer 2020 Newsletter - What we've been up to Posted on: Jul 3rd, 2020
Today we've published our summer 2020 newsletter. The newsletter…
- Some examples of people we've helped Posted on: Jul 3rd, 2020
Looking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few…
- Monthly update - June 2020 Posted on: Jun 30th, 2020
We've just published our update for June…
- What’s your experience of ban the box? Posted on: Jun 20th, 2020
As part of our fair access to employment project, we are gathering…