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Criminal records checks for engineers

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Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Apr 29, 2018 12:46 pm

Has there been an increase in the number of criminal records checks for engineers in recent years? Factor out jobs which require working with children or vulnerable adults, or those requiring certain types of security clearance.

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Mark Mustard on Apr 29, 2018 3:57 pm

Good point Arran, the system needs reviewing as I believe criminal record checks appear to be the norm with employment in the UK and has become widely complacent. I can't include myself as I do come into contact with vulnerable people and so I fall into the bracket of having to have an enhanced DBS check yet, that was done some years ago.........what about my current criminal record? Suppose I were to have committed an offence since my last DBS check and it didn't carry a jail sentence.......my employer would potentially be non the wiser if I were to conceal any conviction from them?! Incidentally and for the record, I've been a good boy and my record would come back clear.......I hope! 

Nonetheless, do employers have the right to demand such personal information when it isn't relevant to the role? Or is it just a means of filtering out certain individuals by means of legitimate discrimination?! 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Michael Cotterell on Apr 30, 2018 1:19 pm

A tricky subject. If we looked at all IET members and staff we might get some unpleasant surprizes. Should we victimise or forgive? Deepends on your point of view. A bit of a political this. Best left alone.

KIND REGARDS


Michael
Michael T Cotterell

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Jun 10, 2018 12:43 pm

Seems to have gone a bit quiet here.

If you are / were a manager then would you be happy to employ an engineer who had previously served a prison sentence and their conviction is unspent under ROA 1974? Should convictions, for the purposes of employment, only include custodial sentences or should all applicants be forced to declare non-custodial sentences such as police cautions or fines issued by magistrates courts. It's actually quite common for job applicants to say that they don't have any convictions because they have never gone to jail then lose the job because they 'lied' on the application form by failing to disclose a magistrates court fine or police caution from 20 years ago. Should old and minor offences - like trying to defraud a vending machine with washers or shoplifting in the 1980s both as a teenager - have to be declared or should an employer have no right to know about these? If you had employed an engineer then two years down the line found out that they had lied on their application form about convictions then would you systematically dismiss them on the basis that they are a liar and dishonest even if the conviction is minor or has no relevance to the job? Would you also sue them under the Fraud Act for fraud by false representation?

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Simon Barker on Jun 10, 2018 9:17 pm

With certain exceptions, an employer should not be asking about convictions that are spent, and the employee is under no obligation to disclose them.

Any employer who fired such an employee could be sued for wrongful dismissal.  I cannot see how the employer could possibly successfully sue the employee.

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Jun 16, 2018 11:50 am

Simon Barker:
With certain exceptions, an employer should not be asking about convictions that are spent, and the employee is under no obligation to disclose them.

There have been cases of engineering companies carrying out enhanced DBS checks without any prior warning or for positions that probably don't require them. This shows up ALL spent convictions.


Any employer who fired such an employee could be sued for wrongful dismissal.  I cannot see how the employer could possibly successfully sue the employee.

Also, what about convictions that were unspent when the employee started the job but were spent when the management found out about them? Do you retain the employee because the convictions are now spent or do you sack them because they lied on the application form.

 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Aug 7, 2018 12:51 pm

It's a deep question about exactly which careers people with criminal convictions should and should not be allowed to do, and why.

Does the IET have any particular views on engineers with criminal convictions? Should a person who has served a custodial sentence deserve to be employed as an engineer (assuming that the crime was not directly related to engineering) or not?

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Apr 16, 2019 10:42 am

It's a bit quiet here...

If a person who has previously served a prison sentence wanted to study for a degree in engineering, then would you recommend it or would it be pointless because they could never use it in the real world?

I am interested in knowing what the optimum level of qualifications is for an ex-con in Britain and how they compare with other developed countries. There is anecdotal evidence from Unlock that other western European countries are better when it comes to rehabilitating ex-cons and more lenient when it comes to them getting quality or professional careers than the UK is.

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Ronald McMurtrie on Apr 16, 2019 11:09 am

Those serving time in prison do have the opportunity to study for Open University degrees.  If successful in gaining a degree, should anyone on release be prevented from seeking appropriate employment?

Of course there could well be conditions based on the nature of their conviction which limit opportunities open to them.

A number of employers, including Timpsons, and Greggs have an intersting track record in offering such employment. Sir John Timpson regularly mentions this in his weekly Daily Telegraph column.

There is in Glasgow a bakery which started in a local prison, and subsequently moved to larger premises, been successful in giving opportunity, firstly on day-release and then on release to gain experience in bakery, with a record of successfully going on to other employment. Here to there are conditions as to who can take up these openings.

While the examples quoted are not in Engineering, it still demonstrates what is possible in terms of rehabilitation.

 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Apr 16, 2019 11:27 am

Ronald McMurtrie:
Those serving time in prison do have the opportunity to study for Open University degrees.  If successful in gaining a degree, should anyone on release be prevented from seeking appropriate employment?

Open University degrees have been severely curtailed by the ConDem government. Prisoners now how to take out loans in order to study for them. The number of degree courses have also been cut back because the OU now assumes that students have regular internet access but prisoners in Britain do not.

While the examples quoted are not in Engineering, it still demonstrates what is possible in terms of rehabilitation.

These are all simple basic jobs. I'm trying to work out how high the glass ceiling is when it comes to ex-cons and careers. It's notable that official education programmes in prisons of Level 3 and higher have almost completely been abolished by the ConDem government, leaving only basic (primary school level) education and Level 1 and 2 qualifications. Although the priority is prisoners with a low level of education and skills, reading between the lines is a message that there is little point in ex-prisoners having a Level 3 qualification or higher because they cannot realistically use them, which is why prisons no longer offer them, There is no point in a person who has served a prison sentence having or studying for a degree in dentistry as they cannot use it in Britain. Most careers working with children or vulnerable adults are also closed. A few ex-prisoners have studied law degrees and become solicitors, but this has provoked strong feelings of anger and resentment from the public.

 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Howard Warren on Apr 16, 2019 1:47 pm

Not an easy topic to delve into, and there's no "one size fits all" answer. It all depends on the offences committed, sentences dispensed and the time elapsed, as well as the current lifestyle and status of the applicant. Not a straightforward problem by any means.

Ideally, the thing to do is to act with integrity and openness - being completely honest when applying for the post in the first place. Any reasonable employer would look at the application and judge it based on the nature of any historic offence, and the intervening time spent with no further offences. 

I can see there would be an issue of you had a more serious criminal record (eg custodial sentence) and didn't declare it when applying for a job - should the employer then go down the line of compulsory DBS checking, then you could rightfully expect consequences - you'd come across as dishonest at the very least. However, in my opinion, a magistrate's fine or a caution, received over 20 years ago and whilst a teenager, really shouldn't pose a problem if it came to light, especially if you've kept your nose clean in the interim. Though you'd gain a lot more respect if you declared it at the application stage. That said, there are convicted hackers now enjoying rewarding careers in cyber-security... poacher turned gamekeeper, but that's another topic! 
 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Arran Cameron on Apr 18, 2019 7:07 am

What about a custodial sentence for:

Burglary
Criminal damage
Tax evasion
Assaulting a police officer whilst out on a public demonstration

Would it be realistically possible to have a career in engineering afterwards?

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Simon Barker on Apr 18, 2019 8:35 am

Howard Warren:
I can see there would be an issue of you had a more serious criminal record (eg custodial sentence) and didn't declare it when applying for a job - should the employer then go down the line of compulsory DBS checking, then you could rightfully expect consequences - you'd come across as dishonest at the very least. However, in my opinion, a magistrate's fine or a caution, received over 20 years ago and whilst a teenager, really shouldn't pose a problem if it came to light, especially if you've kept your nose clean in the interim. Though you'd gain a lot more respect if you declared it at the application stage. That said, there are convicted hackers now enjoying rewarding careers in cyber-security... poacher turned gamekeeper, but that's another topic! 
 

Don't forget the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.  After a certain number of years (depending on the type of conviction), the employer shouldn't be asking, and the potential employee shouldn't need to tell. 
 

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by mapj1 on Apr 18, 2019 11:58 am

For those who are not sure if their historical convictions are spent, and therefore if they need or need not be mentioned on job applications not requiring a DBS or security clearance
see this handy reminder
http://hub.unlock.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/roaposter.png

However, in short  any prison sentence more than 4 years is never considered spent, and neither are certain  public protection sentences.
Most others are, and after the expiry, you are not legally required to mention them, when if asked about past convitions.
regards Mike

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Lisa Miles on Apr 18, 2019 12:19 pm

Catch me if you can?  Frank Abagnale 

Con man and fraudster who ran rings around the FBI before being employed by them. 
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Criminal records checks for engineers

Posted by Legh Richardson on Apr 18, 2019 1:17 pm

Lisa Miles:
Catch me if you can?  Frank Abagnale 

Con man and fraudster who ran rings around the FBI before being employed by them. 

So perfectly qualified to work for the secret service, wear expensive suits hang around street corners, chase 'bad men' in fast cars and shoot people with automatic weapons.
What type of crimes would be acceptable in the engineering industry?

Legh.
 
www.leghrichardson.co.uk

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