§ Mr. Frank Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what instructions have been issued to jobcentres, skillcentres and other public employment agencies concerning the implementation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
Instructions to all staff of the public employment services on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 describe the provisions of the Act, define the periods of rehabilitation and list those professions, offices and employment which are exempt from the Act, Staff are instructed not to attempt to interpret the Act nor to give a ruling as to whether a conviction is 'spent' but to advise people to consult the citizens advice bureau or a solicitor.
The instructions state that ex-offenders registering for employment have a right not to disclose to staff details of any convictions. Information volunteered by registrants may be recorded but must not be disclosed to a prospective employer without the registrant's consent; in the case of 'spent' convictions this consent must be in writing. A Home Office leaflet 'Wiping the slate clean', which explains the Act, is available at jobcentres and employment offices.