Applicants with criminal convictions

Anyone that accepts an offer to study at the University of Hertfordshire is required to disclose any relevant, unspent criminal convictions within 14 days of accepting their offer.

You are strongly advised to read the University's Admissions policy UPR SA03 which supports this guidance.

Why does the University require convictions to be disclosed?

The University has a duty of care to our community, and to take appropriate steps to protect students, staff, and visitors.  The University considers all available information and will make a holistic assessment of an individual, their suitability to study the course or to live on campus in University accommodation, and the impact upon the wider University community.

Do all convictions have to be disclosed?

The University only requires disclosure of convictions which are deemed ‘relevant’ and which are ‘unspent’, see below for further guidance.

What convictions does the University consider ‘relevant’?

A ‘relevant’ criminal conviction is one which may have implications for the University’s duty of care towards the safety of our students, staff, and visitors. This includes, but is not limited to convictions concerning:

  • 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.
  • Sexual offences, including those listed in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking (drug offences only involving possession are not relevant offences).
  • Offences involving firearms.
  • Offences involving arson.
  • Offences involving terrorism.

This list is not definitive but seeks to outline the sorts of offences for which a conviction will be considered relevant by the University.

All disclosures are treated confidentially and restricted to relevant members of staff.

If you have an unspent conviction but are unsure if it will be relevant, you may disclose this conviction confidentially and we will advise whether we consider it to be relevant. If it is not relevant, no further action will be taken.

How do I know if my conviction is ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’?

If you are unsure whether your conviction is ‘unspent’, and therefore needs to be disclosed, you can seek advice from the charities NACRO or Unlock.

If I disclose a conviction does this mean my offer will be cancelled?

The disclosure of any unspent, relevant criminal conviction will not result in automatic exclusion or the cancellation of an offer.  All relevant information will be assessed, and a risk-based approach is taken to assess whether it is necessary to exclude an applicant from admission to the University or to place any specific conditions on admission, for example exclusion from on campus accommodation.

When do I need to disclose a conviction?

Any relevant unspent conviction must be disclosed to the University within 14 days of accepting an offer.

How do I disclose a conviction?

You should email and provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your applicant ID number
  • The programme you have applied for
  • The title of the offence for which you were convicted

No further information is needed at this stage.  We will reply to the email address you use to send your disclosure, so please use an email address that you are happy to use to discuss confidential information.

What happens after I disclose a conviction?

If your conviction is not considered relevant no further action will be taken. We will not keep any record of the information you have disclosed.  If your conviction is considered relevant we will ask you to provide further information to help us assess the risk of harm to the University community.

Can I check if my conviction will be considered relevant before I accept my offer?

Yes, you can voluntarily disclose a conviction to us before accepting your offer so that we can advise you if this will be considered relevant.  When contacting us you should state that you have not yet accepted your offer and are informing us of your conviction voluntarily so that we can assess whether it will be considered relevant.

Legal basis for processing this information

Please note that the University will always process data relating to criminal convictions in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and with the University’s Data Protection Policy. The GDPR requires that processing of personal data is conducted in accordance with one of the lawful bases contained in Article 6 of the GDPR and, in addition to Article 6, personal information relating to criminal convictions can only be processed if the University also satisfies one of the conditions of Article 10. As the processing is in the public interest – in this case, safeguarding the University’s community of students, staff and visitors and safeguarding children and individuals at risk – both Articles 6 and 10 contain provisions which allow the University to process such information.

How long will the University keep information about a criminal conviction?

If the conviction is not considered relevant, no information will be retained.  If your conviction is considered relevant, this will depend on the outcome:

  • If you are admitted to the University the information about your conviction will be retained for the duration of your studies, or until your conviction is ‘spent’, whichever is sooner.
  • If you are not admitted to the University for a reason other than a criminal conviction (e.g. if you do not achieve the grades to meet the conditions of your offer) we will retain the information about your conviction until the end of the relevant admissions cycle. This is normally the November after the date that you would have begun the course had your application been successful.
  • If you are not admitted to the University because of a criminal conviction we will retain the information for a maximum of 6 years. This will be subject to an annual review.