Applicants with criminal convictions

All applicants who accept an offer to study at the University of Birmingham are required to disclose to the University any relevant, unspent criminal conviction within 14 days of accepting their offer. 

Criminal Convictions Policy

You are strongly advised to read the University's policy on applicants with criminal convictions if in full if you have an unspent criminal conviction.

 Criminal Conviction Policy 2019 onwards Admission

 A summary of the key points of this policy and the procedure to disclose a criminal conviction are also provided below.

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. In the area of criminal convictions, the University takes the view that it should consider all available information about whether an applicant who accepts an offer of study has a relevant unspent criminal conviction. This will be part of a holistic assessment of an individual, their suitability to study the course of their choice or to stay 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’. More information on what this means is provided below and in our Applicant Criminal Convictions Policy

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. The University of Birmingham seeks to admit the widest range of students who may benefit from our programmes of study based on an assessment of prior achievements and potential, and this includes students with criminal convictions.

All relevant information will be considered 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 University 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.

If you have a conviction and wish to find out whether this is likely to affect your admission to the University you may disclose this voluntarily before accepting your offer.

How do I disclose a conviction?

Initially 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.

 You do not need to provide any further information 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 we will advise you of this, and 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 make an informed assessment of any risk of harm to the University community involved in allowing admission to the University and/or University accommodation.

The full process for consideration of a relevant, unspent conviction is set out in our Applicant Criminal Conviction Policy [link]. You are advised to read this carefully before disclosing any conviction to us.

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.

You should follow the procedure set out under ‘How do I disclose a conviction?’ above. When emailing 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.

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

If the conviction is not considered relevant, no information will be retained after we have informed you of this.

If your conviction is considered relevant, this will depend on the outcome of our consideration:

  • 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. For example, if you would have begun the course in September 2019, the information would be retained until November 2019.
  • 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.