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Compulsorily Detained Psychiatric Patients

Question for Home Office

UIN 7892, tabled on 26 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government has plans to make changes to prevent spent hospital orders under the Mental Health Act from being recorded on patients' Disclosure and Barring Service records.

Answered on

11 June 2021

As the question refers to spent hospital orders, we assume you are referring to hospital orders for an individual detained under the Mental Health Act as part of the disposal for a conviction. Spent criminal records are never disclosed on basic criminal record certificates.

Jobs which require higher levels of trust (such as roles working with children) may be eligible for standard or enhanced criminal record certificates issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service. These checks may also disclose spent convictions and cautions in accordance with disclosure rules. According to the rules, a spent conviction or caution would be disclosed only if: it was imposed within the last 11 years; or it was for a specified offence which is serious, relates to sexual or violent offending or is otherwise relevant for safeguarding purposes; or where a custodial sentence is imposed. Where such convictions are disclosed, the certificates will also include any attached sentences/disposals which could include a hospital order.

Enhanced certificates may also contain other information held by the police if a Chief Officer of police considers it relevant to the role and proportionate for it to be disclosed. In making such a decision, Chief Officers must have regard to statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State which makes clear that disclosure of information related to mental health is sensitive and requires careful consideration. Information suggesting a particular risk of harm to others, for example, might be considered appropriate for disclosure. If such information is disclosed, the criminal record certificate should provide sufficient explanation to ensure that the prospective employer will clearly understand the relevance of the information to the application.

The Government considers that the current approach strikes the right balance between public protection and an individual’s right to private life.

Answered by

Home Office