Quality Manual

Applicants with Criminal Convictions

Procedures for dealing with applicants with criminal convictions

The UCAS* form and University postgraduate application form requires applicants to declare any criminal convictions, other than minor motoring offences.

Consideration of any such application will continue to be the responsibility of the relevant School. If it is decided that an offer of a place can be made to the applicant, the University will need to consider wider issues, including the safety and interests of all members of the University community, prior to issuing an offer of a place.

The University has the powers to refuse the application of any individual; to lay down such conditions as it sees fit for the admission of an individual; and also to terminate the registration of an individual who is subsequently discovered to have omitted or falsified relevant facts or information concerned with his/ her application.

Information for Admissions Tutors:  

Action to be taken on receipt of an application which includes a declaration of criminal convictions

The UCAS and postgraduate application form requires applicants to declare any criminal convictions, except for motoring offences for which a fine and/or up to three penalty points were imposed. A tick box to indicate "Yes" or "No" is included in section 11 of the UCAS form and in section 11 of the University postgraduate application form.  

Against this background, guidance is given below to Admissions Tutors on how to respond to the declarations of criminal convictions on an application form. 

1. Initially, Admissions Tutors should assess applications without regard to the conviction and in line with the University's Admissions Policy. If as a result of this assessment it is decided not to make an offer to the applicant, the application can be rejected in the normal way.

2. If an Admissions Tutor wishes to consider seriously an application, the boxes should be checked and the following action taken in each case: 

  • 'No' box ticked - Proceed as normal.
  • 'Yes' box ticked
  • The Admissions Tutor should contact their relevant Admissions Co-Ordinator*. The Admissions Co-Ordinator will obtain as much information as possible about the nature of the offence concerned. In particular, the applicant should be asked to provide references from his/ her Probation Officer and/ or prison authorities (applicants for undergraduate study who are serving prisoners at the time of application will be required by UCAS to submit their application via the prison authorities who are expected to indicate the suitability of the applicant to undertake a course of study and whether the applicant would be available to commence a course if an offer was made and accepted. Further information may also be available from the UCAS Verification Unit).  In relation to applicants for programmes where a DBS check is routinely required as a condition of admission, the University may rely on the information provided through the DBS process rather than asking the applicant directly for information.

  • In the case of convictions which have resulted in a sentence of imprisonment (including suspended sentence), the Admissions Co-Ordinator will notify the Head of the Admissions Office who will take a decision on whether or not the candidate should be offered a place and/ or admitted to the University. Consideration should also be given to the need to alert other parties (eg Accommodation Office, Faculty Office, Placement providers) to the circumstances and/ or set up appropriate supervision arrangements prior to the applicant's registration as a student.
  • If the conviction is spent it will be disregarded except where satisfactory completion of the degree programme would give automatic right to practice a profession exempted by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act or where the course involves unsupervised contact with vulnerable persons. When forwarding the application to the appropriate Admissions Co-ordinator, Admissions Tutors are asked to draw attention to this as an issue if appropriate.
  • In the case of convictions which have resulted in a sentence not involving imprisonment, Admissions Tutors should normally reach a decision in consultation with their appropriate Admissions Co-ordinator. Objective reasons for the decision should be recorded. If an Admissions Tutor is concerned that the nature of the offence in question warrants further investigation, he or she may choose to follow the more thorough procedures described in paragraph 2.3.
  • Written confirmation of all decisions to proceed with an offer or a rejection should be sent to the candidate by the appropriate Admissions Co-ordinator and must be recorded and filed with the application form.

3. Action to be taken where there is reason to suspect that an Applicant has unspent criminal convictions which have not been declared.

  • This is most likely to occur where a Referee refers to criminal convictions within a confidential reference, but the University is also occasionally alerted to undeclared criminal convictions by the UCAS Verification Unit.
  • Admissions tutors should notify the Head of the Admissions Office of their suspicions.  In the case of an applicant for undergraduate admissions, the Undergraduate Admissions Manager (who is also the University's UCAS representative) will seek the advice of the UCAS Verification Unit. The Verification Unit should be able to ascertain whether or not the Admission's Tutor's suspicions are well founded. In the event of an applicant having failed to disclose a very serious conviction, UCAS may decide to cancel the application. If the application is not cancelled, Admissions Tutors should follow the procedures detailed in paragraph 2.3. However, they should bear in mind the need to obtain the permission of the Referee before discussing, with an applicant, any information for which the sole source is a confidential reference. In the case of an applicant for postgraduate study, the Head of the Admissions Office will write to the candidate. However, they should bear in mind the need to obtain the permission of the Referee before discussing, with an applicant, any information for which the sole source is a confidential reference.
  • If an applicant is convicted of a criminal offence after submitting an application or after an offer of a place has been made, the applicant is under a duty to disclose this information to the University. Should information concerning criminal convictions come to light after an offer has been made, the above procedures should still be followed. Both the UCAS regulations and the University's own procedures make provision for an offer to be withdrawn if it is subsequently felt to be inappropriate, in the light of information not available when it was first made.  

4. Recording information relating to criminal conviction  

  • All correspondence relating to the declaration of criminal convictions by an applicant will be held by the Head of the Admissions Office.
  • At all stages, all staff should ensure that procedures are in place to restrict access to correspondence relating to an applicant's or student's record on a "need to know" basis. * UK admissions only. 




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