Guidance and advice on criminal convictions and Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme membership for applicants

The University of Stirling strives to create a safe and welcoming community for our students, staff and visitors. We are committed to the rehabilitation of offenders and understand the role of higher education in supporting that process.

In order to facilitate a safe environment and protect the University community, the University of Stirling will collect and record information from our applicants or offer holders on any relevant, criminal convictions that they may have.

The University of Stirling also has a requirement to know if an applicant, offer holder or student is under investigation by the Police or where Criminal proceedings are underway. It is the responsibility of the offer holder, applicant or student to report this to the University. 

Any information declared by an applicant is used to inform a risk assessment and consideration by a panel of University of Stirling staff as to whether the applicant is suitable to join the profession to which they are applying, and if appropriate conditions or restrictions may be necessary.

Here are a list of questions that you may find helpful.

Q. Can I apply if I have a criminal conviction, am under investigation by the Police or have Criminal Proceedings Pending?

A. Yes, you can apply to the University.


Q. When will I be asked about any convictions?

A. If you have applied for a professional programme of study which involves regulated work with children and/or protected adults we will ask you at the same time that you apply.

Q. What convictions do I have to disclose?

A. For professional course which involve regulated work with children and/or protected adults your chosen profession is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and you will require to declare all spent and unspent convictions, sentences, cautions and bind-over orders by a court.

Q. What is a spent conviction?

A. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 classifies individuals as being rehabilitated after a specified time period, provided they do not receive any further convictions. The time period will depend on the sentence received and the UK country the conviction occurred in. Guidance is available from NACRO or Disclosure Scotland.

Q. When is a conviction unspent?

A. If the relevant time period has not passed then the conviction would be considered unspent. Any Convictions attracting sentences of 30 months (2 years 6 months) imprisonment or more are automatically deemed to be unspent.

For professional courses which involve regulated work with children and/or protected adults, these professions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and you will require to declare all spent and unspent convictions, sentences, cautions and bind-over orders by a court.

Q. Why do I need to complete a Protecting of Vulnerable Groups Scheme Membership Application?

A. For professional course which involve regulated work with children and/or protected adults your chosen profession is exempt from the rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and you will require to declare all spent and unspent convictions, sentences, cautions and bind-over orders by a court.

In addition, you will be required to complete and become a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership scheme. This helps make sure people whose behaviour makes them unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults cannot apply to do regulated work with these vulnerable groups. When you apply for PVG membership Disclosure Scotland will carry out a criminal record check and share that with the University and you.

If you do not live in the U.K. you will still require to complete a Protection of Vulnerable Groups Membership application. Additionally we will also require a criminal record check from your home country, a Certificate of Good Conduct or Police Certification.

If you are a UK resident and have been resident outside the U.K. in another country within the last 5 years, you will also require to provide a criminal record check, a Certificate of Good Conduct or Police Certification.

Q. What if I am applying from outside the U.K.?

A. If you are applying from outside of the U.K. you will require to answer any questions regarding criminal convictions and your information will be considered in the same way as a UK resident.

Q. Who will see information on my Criminal Conviction?

All criminal convictions information will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.  Criminal convictions information will only be used to make a decision about suitability to join a professional course and the University will only ask for the information needed to make this decision.  Information will be held securely on the University’s systems and access will be strictly limited to members of staff who are required to see it. Every reasonable step will be taken to ensure criminal convictions information is accurate. The information will only be held for as long as it is needed to make a decision about admission and provide any appropriate support during study if required.  When the information is no longer required, it will be securely destroyed.

Q. How will information on my convictions be considered?

A. In the case of those Programmes that are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a Panel which considers an applicant or offer holders suitability for the Profession will be convened.

Q. What decisions about my criminal convictions can be taken in relation to my application?

A. The outcome of the relevant panel will be one of the following options:

  • We require additional information from you or a third party and the Panel will consider this information.
  • The Panel has considered the information presented and has decided that the applicant or offer holder is suitable to become a member of the profession they have applied to join.
  • The Panel has considered the information presented and has decided the applicant or offer holder is suitable to become a member of the profession they have applied to join with certain conditions or restrictions.
  • The Panel has considered the information presented and has decided that they consider the applicant or offer holder to be unsuitable to become a member of the profession they have applied to join.

Where an applicant or offer holder has been deemed by a panel to be unsuitable to be a member of a profession, Admissions and Access will withdraw the application or offer of a place.

Applicants may appeal against a decision made by the panel for the following reasons:

  • If there is additional or new information available
  • If the procedure to consider convictions was not followed by the University
  • If the decision is considered unreasonable or disproportionate

Q. I did not have a conviction at the time I was made an offer; do I need to tell you about a new conviction, investigation or proceeding?

A. Yes you should inform Admissions and Access if you have not yet enrolled at the University by emailing admissionschecks@stir.ac.uk with full details.

Q. I am a current student do I need to tell you about a new convictions, investigation or proceeding?

A. Yes if you are an enrolled student you should inform the Academic Registrar’s Office by emailing studentdiscipline@stir.ac.uk with full details. If you are an enrolled student, you may be subject to investigation and action under Ordinance 2, the Code of Student Discipline (the University’s student disciplinary process).

Q. What happens if I fail to declare a criminal conviction to the University during the admissions process and receive a place?

A. If you fail to disclose a criminal conviction, inform us that you are under investigation by the Police or that criminal proceedings are underway the University reserves the right to withdraw your application and/or any offer of admission that has been made to you. If you are an enrolled student, you may be subject to investigation and action under Ordinance 2, the Code of Student Discipline (the University’s student disciplinary process).

Information and Advice

There are a number of organisations who provide information and advice:

Disclosure Scotland

NACRO

Citizens Advice

If you have any questions regarding this guidance and advice please email admissionschecks@stir.ac.uk.