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Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many former prisoners are employed by his Department; and what his Department’s policy is on employing former prisoners. (246344)

The Department does not hold figures on the number of former prisoners it employs.

It is departmental policy to not automatically exclude an individual from applying for a post if he or she has a previous conviction. In common with other Government Departments the Department applies the Cabinet Office’s Baseline Personnel Security Standard. That Standard includes a check on Criminal Record Declaration of ‘unspent convictions’ by the applicant. The Department’s Human Resources division then decide on a case-by-case basis, making a judgment based on that conviction and the post applied for, and considering whether there would be any conflicts of interest in employing that individual.

The Department would usually not know about any ‘spent’ convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. When a member of staff needs to be security cleared under National Security Vetting procedures, a part of that procedure is a Criminal Record Declaration of all previous convictions. These declarations are checked by the Department’s Security Vetting Team against police records who then make a decision whether to grant security clearance.