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Criminal Convictions Policy and Procedure for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Admissions – July 2016

Criminal Convictions Policy and Procedure for Undergraduate

and Postgraduate Admissions


Relevant criminal conviction

Relevant criminal convictions, as defined by UCAS, are convictions for:

Offences involving any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour,

the intention to harm or actual bodily harm

Offences listed in the Sex Offenders Act 2003

The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns

commercial drug dealing or trafficking

Offences involving firearms

Offences involving arson

Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006

Convictions that are ‘spent’ are not ‘relevant’



Spent convictions

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as amended enables some criminal convictions to

become ‘spent’ after a ‘rehabilitation period’. The rehabilitation period varies depending on

the sentence imposed by the court. Custodial sentences of more than

four years can never

become ‘spent’.



This policy applies to applications for all undergraduate and postgraduate provision at the

University (including Newcastle University London) with the exception of courses in teaching

and health and courses involving work with children or vulnerable adults. These courses have

particular requirements relating to the disclosure of warnings, reprimands, cautions and

criminal convictions which are dealt with on a course by course basis and require applicants to

agree to submit to criminal record checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service




For the purposes of this policy, criminal convictions are only relevant criminal convictions as

defined above and, for the avoidance of doubt, do not include ‘spent’ convictions. There are

some programmes where Disclosure and Barring Service checks may not be required, but

where professional requirements demand disclosure of criminal offences which do not come

under the definition of ‘relevant criminal conviction’ above. Applicants for such programmes


The charity “Unlock” offers helpful guidance on when convictions are spent

( www.unlock.org.uk )


The Disclosure and Barring Service is a Government organisation which carries out criminal record checks for specific

positions, professions and employment included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

These include, for example, teaching, medicine, dentistry and other professions involving work with children or

vulnerable adults.