Declaring Criminal Charges and Convictions
What information students are expected to provide about criminal charges/convictions and how the University uses this.
Why the University requires students to provide information about relevant criminal convictions/charges
The University has a duty of care towards our students and staff, and a responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment in which students and staff can work and study. Students take part in a very broad range of academic, extra-curricular, and social activities as members of the University community, and many live in halls of residence owned or operated by the University. Where students have unspent criminal convictions of some types (particularly those involving violence), or have been charged with some types of offences, the University needs to consider whether it means that they pose an additional risk to other students or staff. We may decide in some cases that the nature of a criminal conviction or charge means that, in order to meet our duty of care, we need to restrict the ability of a student to take part in some activities. In other cases, we may decide that a student’s presence on campus is not compatible with our responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff, and therefore exclude them from accessing the University temporarily or permanently. Where we take action of this kind in relation to a student, we do so under the Code of Student Conduct, which is the University’s student disciplinary procedure.
What the University requires students to do
In order to allow us to meet our duty of care to the University community, we require students to provide us with information about certain criminal charges and convictions. On first matriculating at the University, all new students are required to inform the University of any relevant pending charges, or relevant unspent convictions (the relevant types of charges and convictions are set out in more detail below). All students are also required to notify the University of any relevant pending charges or relevant convictions which are imposed upon them during their studies. The requirement to inform the University about relevant charges and relevant convictions is highlighted during the matriculation process, and is covered in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree Regulations.
The University may also receive reports that a student has a relevant criminal conviction or relevant charge from a third party or agency, for example Police Scotland.
What types of convictions and charges need to be declared
The University only requires information about criminal charges or convictions which relate to relevant offences.
Relevant offences include offences in respect of which sentences are imposed by a court of law, cautions, admonitions, reprimands, final warnings, bind over orders or similar received in the UK, or equivalent convictions received in any other country, in relation to one or more of the following non-exhaustive list of relevant offences:
- any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm;
- offences listed in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009;
- 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; or
- offences listed in Schedule 1 to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.
Any conviction involving an offence similar to those set out above, made by a court outside the UK, which would not be considered as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, is considered to be relevant and should be disclosed.
If you need to tell the University about any criminal charges or convictions, or if you have questions about whether a conviction or charge needs to be declared, contact email@example.com.
What does not need to be declared
Warnings, penalty notices for disorder (PNDs), anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) or violent offender orders (VOOs) are not classed as relevant convictions, unless an applicant has a contested PND or has breached the terms of an ASBO, FPN or VOO and this has resulted in a criminal conviction for a relevant offence.
Any conviction that is regarded as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not need to be declared. If you are uncertain as to whether your conviction is spent, please seek independent advice.
Programmes requiring checks under the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme
Some degree programmes which lead to professions working with children or vulnerable adults require additional criminal records checks. These programmes include:
- Teacher Education
- Oral Health Sciences
- Social Work
Further information about this is available here:
These programmes are also subject to Fitness to Practise requirements, which means that students are required to meet standards of professional behaviour during their studies. More information about fitness to practise is available here:
How the University will use information regarding criminal charges or convictions
Where the University receives information relating to relevant criminal charges or relevant convictions (including where this is received from third parties), we will contact the student to ask for more information, and inform them of the process the University will follow. The Deputy Secretary (Student Experience) will consider whether the information suggests that the student may have breached the Code of Student Conduct, which is the University’s student disciplinary policy and procedure:
Where the student is studying on a programme which is subject to fitness to practise requirements (see above), the Deputy Secretary will decide whether to refer the matter for consideration under relevant fitness to practise procedures.
Where the Deputy Secretary decides that a declared relevant charge or relevant conviction could represent a breach of the Code of Student Conduct, relevant members of University staff will also carry out a risk assessment to determine whether the University needs to consider taking any precautionary action in order to protect members of the University community. Precautionary action can include, for example, restricting a student’s access to certain activities or facilities within the University. The risk assessment process also involves considering what support the University should provide to the student who has made the disclosure, or any other members of the University community who might be affected.
Where a student declares a pending relevant charge, the University may take precautionary action, but will not normally initiate an investigation until the criminal process is concluded.
Investigation under the Code of Student Conduct
Where the Deputy Secretary (Student Experience) determines that the information provided indicates that the student may have breached the Code of Student Conduct, they will refer the matter for investigation by a Conduct Investigator. As part of the investigation process, the Conduct Investigator will contact the student to offer them the opportunity to make representations, either in person or in writing. The Conduct Investigator may also contact other individuals who may be able to provide information relevant to the investigation. This may include making contact with the student’s Criminal Justice Social Worker, where relevant.
The Conduct Investigator may find that the student has not breached the Code of Student Conduct, in which case they will dismiss the case. In the event that the Conduct Investigator finds that the student has breached the Code of Student Conduct, they will refer the matter to a Student Discipline Officer or the Student Discipline Committee for disciplinary action.
Further information about the investigation process and disciplinary action is provided on the website below:
How the University holds records relating to criminal charges and convictions
All records relating to declaration of a relevant criminal charge or conviction, including any investigation under the Code of Student Conduct, will be stored securely in line with the University’s Data Protection policy. These records are stored separately from a student’s EUCLID student record, which relates to their matriculation and courses taken at the University.
The University will normally retain information about cases handled under the Code of Student Conduct for five years before destroying it, although we may retain information for longer where the case may be relevant to an ongoing relationship with the individual.
Where a student provides information about a relevant criminal charge or conviction which the University decides does not represent a potential breach of the Code of Student Conduct, we will retain a record of the disclosure and the University decision for five years after the date of the disclosure.
More information about how the University holds this data is provided in the Code of Student Conduct Privacy Notice.
For more information or queries relating to declaration of criminal charges and convictions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org