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Criminal Conviction Declarations

As part of the University's duty of care to its students and staff, we ask current and new students who already attend or are due to join a campus-based course, to declare whether or not they have any 'relevant' criminal convictions. Many other universities do the same.

Holding a conviction or having a pending case before the court does not prevent you from applying to study at RGU. The University is committed to the fair treatment of students as far as possible throughout the application process and during their University experience.

If you have any questions or would like to find out why we collect this information, how we collect it, and what we do with it, please contact us in confidence at

PVG required courses

At RGU we have a different process for those students which are joining us on a programme that requires a PVG check than those who do not. If you've applied via UCAS or direct for a course that requires a PVG check, such as one that involves contact with vulnerable people, teaching, social work or medical related courses, you'll be asked to declare any spent or unspent convictions during the RGU or UCAS application process.

If you are to be made an offer for a course that requires a PVG check and have declared a conviction during the admissions process, the University will get in touch to discuss this with you. If you require a PVG check for your course this will be arranged separately by your Department/School or the Admissions Team.  If you are already a student with the University, on a programme that requires you to hold a PVG and you have a pending or new conviction you should contact your department directly to discuss that declaration.

Our Student Criminal Charges and Convictions Policy details the list of PSRB programmes where disclosure is required at all times.

Please note: certain courses do not require a PVG to study but may lead to professions where professional registration to practise is required, such as law or accountancy. Past convictions may be taken into account during the professional registration process. If you are in any doubt please contact the registration body for the profession that you are interested in for information regarding their requirements.

Unspent/Spent convictions or pending charge

An Unspent Criminal Conviction; which is a conviction, that would not yet be considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or a criminal conviction arising outside of the UK where, had it occurred in the UK, would be considered unspent. For the avoidance of doubt, as a Scottish University, the University adopts the rehabilitation rules as they apply in Scotland.

A conviction is spent when it has reached the specified amount of time after which it can be effectively ignored under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Find out more information on when a conviction becomes spent:

When we reference a pending case, we mean a pending Criminal Charge, a formal accusation or investigation by a law enforcement authority relating to a relevant crime as detailed on this page.

Relevant Convictions

The convictions, pending or otherwise which we consider relevant are:

  1. Offences listed in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
  2. The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking
  3. Offences involving firearms
  4. Offences involving arson
  5. Offences involving fraud or embezzlement
  6. Offences involving theft
  7. Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006
  8. Offences listed in Schedule 1 to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
  9. Offences listed in the Bribery Act 2010
  10. Offences listed in the Criminal Finances Act 2017
  11. Offences listed in the Computer Misuse Act 1990
  12. Offences as defined by the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018
  13. Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021

​We don't class warnings, penalty notices for disorder (PNDs), anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) or violent offender orders (VOOs) as relevant convictions, unless you've contested a PND or breached the terms of an ASBO or VOO and this has resulted in a criminal conviction.

If your conviction involved an offence similar to those set out above, but was made by a court outside of Great Britain, and that conviction wouldn't be considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you should declare it.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables some convictions to become 'spent' after a rehabilitation period. The rehabilitation period varies depending on the sentence imposed by the court. Custodial sentences of more than four years can never become spent. We don't consider spent convictions to be relevant, and you shouldn't declare them.

Why do we ask about convictions?

There are four main reasons why we ask about criminal convictions:

  1. Certain sentences and certain probation arrangements involve conditions, for example relating to association or to the use of the internet, that may restrict a student’s engagement with their course. We need to be sure that you can engage with your course as fully as possible, and finding out about any relevant convictions enables us to identify potential obstacles and, where possible, implement solutions.
  2. Students with convictions for one of the offences listed above may need additional support whilst at the University. Finding out about any relevant convictions and the circumstances surrounding them enables us to offer this support.
  3. The University has a duty of care to all its students and staff. Finding out about relevant convictions also means we can identify any risks posed either to the student themselves, or to other students or staff, and, where possible, implement measures to mitigate them.
  4. The course you have chosen may not permit those with particular types of convictions to join the programme or the professional body which regulates that industry may not support professional registration of a person with a conviction due to the nature of that industry. In these cases we have a duty to ensure that students who join our programmes has the ability to both study, complete the course and join the industry for which their programme relates.

Who we ask

We ask for information about relevant convictions from everyone who has accepted an offer of a place on a campus-based course that does not require its students to complete a PVG check.

Applicants for places on courses requiring a PVG check are normally asked in their original application to the University for information about all convictions, and declarations made there are investigated separately.

When and how we ask


If you apply direct or via UCAS for one of our PSRB programmes then you are asked at the point of application to declare any conviction, pending or otherwise and this includes whether it is spent or unspent. For those who apply for a programme which does not ask at application stage, for example, those joining us on an Engineering, Computing or Business related programme, you are required to declare using our secure online form:

Current Students

If you are already an enrolled student on a PRSB programme and receive a conviction or are pending criminal proceedings you should contact your department to report this immediately. If however you are a current student on any other programme and again receive a conviction or are pending criminal conviction proceedings you should declare this using our secure online form: 

What we ask for

When you declare the concern to your department or via the declaration form you will be asked to provide specific details relating to the case or conviction. This may include asking you for details of the offence and contact details of any social worker, probation officer or other professional who may be able to provide further relevant information. We will only ever ask for information which directly relates to the pending or established conviction but having this prepared prior to making the declaration is advised as we are committed to providing the best support for all of our students and this allows us to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to give you the best chance of success.

How we review your case or conviction

When we receive your information, the Head of Admissions (or nominee) OR the University Solicitor (or nominee) will review it. If they need more details from you, or a reference relating to your conviction, we'll let you know.

In most cases, they will be able to make a decision. For more serious or complex convictions, they may refer a case to the University's Criminal Convictions Review Panel. This is a group of senior University staff representing key service areas, for example the Director of Student Life and Head of Occupational Health and Environment,  who are able to assess the full range of potential support requirements and risks. The panel facilitated by the Head of Admissions/University Solicitor who will arrange a panel to assess the risk, normally within 10 days from receipt of declaration and all required documents submitted.

When we have a decision, either from the Head of Admissions/University Solicitor or from the Criminal Convictions Review Panel, we'll let you know.

Our convictions decisions

Usually, we'll be able to admit you without any adjustments.

Sometimes, we'll propose one or more support arrangements to help you make the transition to living and studying at the University. For example, we might refer your case to our Inclusion Team to meet with you each semester. Sometimes, we'll propose restrictions on your activities whilst at RGU, to mitigate any risks we've identified. For example, we might propose that you don't engage in outreach or placement work with under 18s, or that you don't live in University accommodation.

Very occasionally, where we've identified a serious risk either to you or to other members of the University community that can't be mitigated by support arrangements or reasonable restrictions, we may have to withdraw our offer for entry to the University that year.

How we store and retain your information

The details you supply about your conviction won't be added to your applicant or student record. These will be stored in the named University email and filestore accounts of the staff reviewing your case only. Your case is stored under a case number and not by name.

In most cases, the details you supply to us will be deleted from staff files after a specified period so The University will retain the information contained within the disclosure from the time of receipt for the following periods:

  • for offer holders who do not become registered students – current academic year plus one year, and
  • for registered students –the end of their student status plus six years.
  • The information will then be destroyed securely within six months of the stipulated retention periods.

You can find more information about how we manage student records in our Privacy Notice.

Get in touch

If you have any other questions about applying with a criminal conviction or pending case that are not covered, please contact us at

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