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Criminal Record but Ideal applicant!

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by noahthorogoodhill, Oct 22, 2020.


Would you Hire this guy?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

  1. noahthorogoodhill

    noahthorogoodhill New commenter

    Hi everyone, I have interviewed today a candidate as a science technician in our lab who is really experienced, a great personality, ex-alumni and very qualified for the position. But...he has 3 convictions he has disclosed on his application from 2009/10 which are harassment via prank phone calls, breach of the data protection act and sexual activity in a public lavatory. I know they are historical but I just wanted to see what others would think in a similar situation. I believe he is a great character and his education and work history says alot for who he is now. Any advice on similar situations or any thoughts would be great, want to get back to them by Monday.

    Many thanks :D
  2. welshwales

    welshwales Occasional commenter

    In this present time when we're having to limit risk as much as possible and keep the school community as safe as we can, I'd be thinking that this may be a risk I don't even need to attempt to consider.....just my personal thought...
    Pomza and nomad like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No. They are not all that historical and are concerning in their nature.
    If these happened when he was late teens or something, then maybe...but even then, probably no.

    One mistake is forgivable, but three convictions is more than that.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    You have not posted before and this is your first message? Check with your LM and Safeguarding Lead and check policies. Surely you would have done this as a matter of course.
    sbkrobson and asnac like this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    (1) Are you a headteacher?

    (2) Have you done Safer Recruitment Training?
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Just no.
    littlejackhorner and nomad like this.
  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Absolutely not.
    littlejackhorner and nomad like this.
  8. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Don't do it. I think @Rott Weiler makes a good point about Safer Recruitment Training - if you haven't done it then you should do.
    littlejackhorner and nomad like this.
  9. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I can't vote as it would depend on the circumstances of the alleged offences: I'd need to know more to make the decision. I have also assumed that this is a genuine question, for good reasons.

    But the immediate "no" answers are disappointing for me. People do silly things and it's wrong that they should be forever paying for them; it's very possible for them to change as they mature, and indeed there are man y stories of hardened gangsters and criminals changing their lives and becoming real role models.

    Of course, it takes guts and character for a HT to make a decision that is outside the norm, but many of the greatest decisions ever taken have been thus, and many of the greatest characters in history have been mavericks in some way.

    As to the offences:
    Prank calls are silly and if they really were harassment then they are wrong. But how many kids have not pranked somebody at some point? You only have to look at Youtube for all kinds of pranks - even whole TV series based on them.

    Data Protection rules were brought in initially to stop large companies selling private information. Like so many other modern laws, this remit has now been extended almost ad infinitum to cover all kinds of stuff, and is now often used by organisations to block the giving out of normal information that for whatever reason they don't want to share. Normal, everyday requests are covered and sometimes it can takes days to obtain a single piece of contact info that in times past would have needed a 30 second enquiry.
    I suspect that most people will have, usually inadvertently, broken the law as regards information - I certainly have by mistake, but to nobody's detriment - and unless this man did so in a consistent and deliberate way in order to gain an advantage or access to information to which he had no right, then this again may have been a storm in a teacup.

    The sexual activity in a public loo is a different ballgame. One assumes that it was not an assault, or it would have been prosecuted as such, so it will have been between consenting adults. If it was simply two people getting carried away and making a one-off mistake, no issues: we can all get carried away in the heat of the moment. Without going into much detail, when I'd finished Uni and was on my gap year I met and went out with a girl a bit younger. We had loads of fun and loved having sex, as is normal. It would be easier to say where we didn't do it than where we did! - though we never went into a public loo, that's for sure. So having sex outside the home/car is not a deal-breaker for me.
    But my concern here would be the nature of the acts; if it was some kind of sordid meeting in a stinky loo, where other people were about, I'd be wondering why and questioning the decision-making abilities of the applicant and this for me would probably decide whether or not I employed him.

    But a knee-jerk "no" for me is not appropriate.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That's all very heartfelt.
    But what an odd response.
    OP is not talking about the acts that you describe generically.
    OP is talking about the fact of being convicted for them.
    If they were convicted of prank calling it is because they were brought to account by somebody who suffered for it or somebody who detected a breach in protocol within an institution.
    If they were convicted of a data breach, then it precisely because it was determined they had no right to access or use whatever they did. A conviction was only likely called for because some damage to a person or institution was incurred, either materially or in trust.
    A conviction for sexual activity in any public place is probably brought because somebody spotted it and somebody was hurt or unhappy by it.

    These acts were not simply things that everybody does as you, seriously weirdly, assert that everybody does. They were things that were discovered or, worse, imposed on others, and impacted on other people. If this had not been the case, then no conviction would have been brought.

    From me it is a "probably not", but mostly It is odd to me that this thread has arisen. in what is potentially a question of safeguarding and logging thorough and detailed screening on a file that stands up to scrutiny, when there are others far closer to home who ought to be consulted.

    It's a very strange way to approach a decision like this...asking a bunch of strangers about whether to employ a stranger-I accept the notion of needing to bat an idea about, but this is quite a high stakes idea,
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  11. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    I understand that prank calling is a juvenile offence but the thing that would concern me is that after two separate offences the person went on to commit a third.
  12. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    For my part I don't believe this happened. Individuals getting prosecuted for data protection breaches is almost unheard of, and prosecutions for sexual activity in a public toilet, while still on the statute book, sounds like something from the 1980s.
    sooooexcited, nomad and Rott Weiler like this.
  13. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    It's the data protection act one that's stumping me - he must have purposely exposed someone's data to cause harm/damage?

    That coupled with the harassment charge paints a picture of a character that is actually quite concerning. I'm inferring quite an obsessive personality type who doesn't like to not get their own way (possibly totally off in my inference) but is this really someone you want on your team who will be line managed by someone who will have to tell him no sometimes?

    The alarm bells are ringing I'm afraid.
    nomad and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I wonder whether the poster is actually the candidate trying to size up their chances...
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That hadn't occurred to me but I think you may be right. OP is pretending to be a school recruiter but is actually the candidate.

    He has been back to read this page this afternoon but has chosen not to respond to any of the questions or comments.

    And his profile page has disappeared (404 error, unless that's just me getting that)
    asnac likes this.
  16. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Star commenter

    That's what I thought too.

    And the answer is no way, absolutely not, never.

    3 crimes? one of them sexual?

    And apart from anything else, what are the chances that a person who has only ever committed 3 crimes has been caught and convicted for every single one of them.
    nomad likes this.
  17. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Good post, IMO. I'm with you on a lot of it. I just don't think we know enough. As to my "seriously weird" assertion :p:) - it's only that if the offences were genuinely bad enough. The thing is, with a sister in the legal system, I know that there are quite a lot of cases where people are convicted of stuff that is basically harmless, or of technical breaches. (Whilst, sadly, the real big criminals who have the money/influence/power get away with far worse - grrr!). So, as I said, I'd be prepared to give a lot of benefit of the doubt until I knew much more about the actual circumstances.

    The fact that you say"probably not" rather than "no, never" indicates that we are maybe not that far apart and I'm glad that you didn't go with the "no"s.
  18. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Look at the user name. I do not think this is a real head.
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I knew it was fake.
    When you interview and have a record of conviction, you would also receive a candidate's declaration, a prose paragraph explaining the circumstance of the conviction. As a school employer you can analyse this according to a points system-if the three offences were committed around a similar time and under "special" circumstances, eg recent bereavement therefore acting out of character, then this would generate fewer points according to the algorithm your school uses in recruitment. It is all part of the risk assessment policy.
    OP made no reference to this declaration, and only spoke of the candidate's character. The declaration is really important, but OP only knew of the convictions.
    Expecting us to form an opinion based on the convictions alone made the thing transparent.

    However, should OP now read this it will be informative, because a "yes or a "no" will be subject to enquiring about the circumstances. It has to be. That gives some hope for securing employment.
    However, as stated, because of the sexual nature of one conviction, it is unlikely that you would even be shortlisted. It scores too many points. There will be better employment chances where an enhanced DBS for working with children is not required.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  20. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    2009/10 was 10-11 years ago, and whilst ‘once a criminal, always a criminal’ - it depends on the severity of the crime.
    It just seems that the candidate was ‘immature’ in his younger days, for sure, we’ve all been at that age.
    Sexual Activity in a Lavatory - was that with a partner or ra*e? If it was the latter, then it’s a custodial sentence, the former, a caution maximum.
    Harassment via Prank Calls - again immaturity at that age.
    Breach of data protection act- was this severe?

    All dependant on severity of the crimes, but as they do not classify as safeguarding, I shouldn’t see as an issue or any ‘red tape’ as such.

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