Student Applications & Criminal Convictions
1 Application Procedure
All application forms (Undergraduate, Postgraduates, Distance Learning) include a question with regard to criminal convictions. The question reads as follows:
"Do you have a criminal conviction which will be unspent at the time of your admission to the University? You should not include any motoring offence for which the penalty was no greater than a fine and/or three penalty points. If you tick the "yes" box, the University may ask you for further details. If you do not tick either box, your form will be returned for completion. Please note that if you are convicted of a criminal offence while your application is being processed, you should notify the UCAS (in case of undergraduate applications) the University (in case of all others types of applicant) immediately".
2 Consideration of Applications
2.1 The Director, Academic Quality and Records is the designated officer with overall responsibility for the process. Their deputies are the Postgraduate Admissions Manager and Head of Undergraduate Admissions.
2.2 The Director, Academic Quality and Records (or their deputy) will contact applicants who have indicated that they have a criminal conviction to request details of their convictions(s) (see letter attached Appendix I).
2.3 No offer will be made to an applicant who has indicated that he/she has a criminal conviction until this information has been sought and the procedure completed.
2.4 The Director, Academic Quality and Records (or their deputy) will report all applications from persons with criminal convictions together with the details supplied by the applicant to the Director of Student Support Services for their consideration in the first instance.
2.5 The Director of Student Support Services, in consultation with the relevant PVC as appropriate, will determine on the basis of the information received (or will contact the applicant for further information and /or permission, as necessary, to approach others for a further reference) whether to recommend to the department that the application should be considered on academic grounds. The following considerations inter alia will be taken into account by the Director of Student Support Services and/or the PVC:
i) whether the criminal record has any bearing on the applicant's suitability to become a member of the student body (e.g. violent or sexual crimes, drug dealing).
ii) the length of time since the offence/s were committed.
iii) whether the applicant has reoffended, and, if so, whether there is a pattern to the reoffence/s.
iv) whether the applicant's circumstances have changed since the time of the offence/s.
2.6 If the Director of Student Support Services (in consultation with the relevant PVC as appropriate) recommends that the application should be considered on academic grounds, the Director, Academic Quality and Records will note on the application form that checks have been completed (in accordance with 2.5 above) and that the department should proceed to consider in the normal manner. The applicant will be informed that his/her application will be considered in the normal manner on academic grounds.
2.7 The details obtained as a result of the enquiry(ies) with regard to the criminal conviction(s) will be filed separately and will not be made available to the department which will consider the applicant solely on the basis of the information contained in the application form.
2.8 If the Director of Student Support Services (in consultation with PVC) wishes to consider the matter further by interviewing the applicant, two separate interviews must take place. The interviews will perform two separate functions, to enable:
i) The department to establish academic suitability for entry.
ii) The University, through the Director of Student Support Services /PVC, to establish the level of potential risk to the community (as far as it is possible to ascertain).
2.9 If a department indicated that it wishes to make an offer of a place to an applicant who has indicated that he/she has a conviction, and the PVC (SA)/Director of Student Support Services are in agreement that an offer should be made, an offer will be made in the normal manner.
2.10 If it is decided that an applicant may be admitted, but that conditions should be set (e.g. that he/she may not live in or visit halls of residence), then such conditions will be made explicit in the offer letter, which must indicate that compliance will be monitored. This letter must also indicate, if it is a condition of acceptance, that the information is passed to certain members of staff of the University on a 'need to know' basis.
2.11 Where the decision is made, on the recommendation of the Director of Student Support Services, and approved by the PVC that in the words of the Human Rights Act, refusal of admission is "necessary in the interests of ... public safety... for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of rights and freedoms of others" then the applicant will be advised that admission has been refused because of his/her criminal record, and that he/she has a right of appeal to the Vice-Chancellor. Reasons for the decision should be given.
3 Compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998
Documentation relating to the case will be kept for no longer that is necessary for the purpose for which it was provided, namely decision on admission. If the decision is taken to admit the applicant, or to admit subject to certain conditions, the documentation will be destroyed forthwith. In the event that an applicant is refused admission, documentation will be destroyed after six months.