Changes to filtering rules November 2020: What you need to know

This page brings together everything related to the changes to the filtering rules that were announced by the government in July 2020, and will come into effect on 28 November 2020, following a Supreme Court ruling and our campaigning work over many years.

The filtering rules establish which convictions and cautions no longer show up on standard and enhanced criminal record checks issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales.

After many months of holding the government to account on the implementation of these changes, the news was confirmed in a letter to Unlock from the Home Office on 18 November. These changes represent a significant step forward for the criminal records system; the government’s own analysis shows that around 45,000 people will benefit.

Read Unlock’s response to news of the date the changes will happen.

Below is a flowchart that reflects what the filtering process will be from 28 November 2020.

You can also download this brief guide that explains the changes in more detail. We will be publishing updated guidance for both individuals and employers once the changes happen.

Find out more about our work on the DBS filtering process here.

Support the need for wider reform?

These changes are positive but limited. We believe there needs to be a root and branch review of the criminal records disclosure system. The #FairChecks movement is calling for the government to launch a major review of the legislation on the disclosure of criminal records to reduce the length of time a record is revealed.

Flowchart explaining the updated process

Below is a flowchart that reflects what the filtering process looks like with the planned changes.

Let us know if this brief guide and flowchart is helpful or if it could be improved – email your comments to


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