10 March 2014

Convictions to be ‘spent’ sooner

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is amended from today reducing the period of time before a conviction will become ‘spent’.

The changes for custodial sentences are set out below:

Length of service

Current rehabilitation period (from date of conviction)

New rehabilitation period – period of sentence plus the additional period which applies from the end of the sentence

0 – 6 months

7 years

2 years

6 – 30 months

10 years

4 years

30 – 48 months

never spent

7 years

Over 48 months

never spent

never spent


Non-custodial sentences:


Current period

New period

Community order/youth rehabilitation period

5 years

1 year


5 years

1 year (from date of conviction)

Absolute discharge

6 months


Conditional discharge, referral order, reparation order, action plan order, supervision order, bind-over, hospital order

Various - mostly between one year and the length of the order

Period of order


The changes have been made as the Government seek to reduce reoffending and recognising that if offenders can find ‘honest work’ they will be less likely to reoffend.

Prospective employees for organisations such as schools and care homes will still be required to declare ‘spent’ and ‘unspent’ convictions to ensure the vulnerable are protected.

  • aunt-bessie.png
  • ocado-337.png
  • nationwide.png
  • crown-commercial-service.png
  • abp.png