Criminal convictions | University of Oxford

Criminal convictions

The University has adopted a policy for any case where the applicant for an undergraduate place has a relevant criminal conviction which has come to the University’s attention.

1. What information should be compiled: It is the responsibility of the Director of Undergraduate Admissions and the Director of the Student Welfare and Support Services to compile information in relation to any case for the panel to consider. The information may include:

  • A statement from the Probation Service, Social Services or senior prison officers;
  • A character reference from a member of staff at the applicant’s school or equivalent;
  • A statement from the applicant setting out any information which he/she considers to be relevant to the decision.

2. How applicants are to be involved in the process: The investigation leading to a dossier being prepared for the Panel to consider will normally be triggered by the applicant’s declaration on the UCAS return. It may also be triggered by information received from a third party.

3. Upon the Panel being established to consider a case, the applicant should be notified by the college to which they have applied that the process has been set in motion, and be provided with a link to the University’s policy.

4. It might be necessary in preparing the dossier for those concerned to approach third parties for further information, for example a probation officer named by the applicant. In no case may those conducting the investigation contact a third party, whether nominated by the applicant or not, without first obtaining specific consent to do so from the applicant. Information about criminal convictions is considered to be sensitive personal data and as such its use is subject to greater protections under the Data Protection Act 1998.

5. It should, however, be made clear to the applicant that in the absence of their consent being given it may not be possible to continue with consideration of the application.

6. Panel proceedings: The dossier of information will be considered by a panel concerned solely with non-academic aspects of the decision whether or not to admit the candidate. The panel will be constituted as follows:

  • Deputy Chair of ADEX (Chair)
  • A representative of the Senior Tutors Committee
  • The Senior Tutor, Dean or other appropriate officer of the college by which the application or offer is being considered
  • The Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for the relevant School
  • The Director of Undergraduate Admissions
  • The Director of Student Welfare and Support Services.

7. When considering a criminal conviction, the Panel will take into account the following factors:

  • The nature of the offence(s).
  • The time that has passed since the offence was committed.
  • Any additional information provided by other sources, such as the Probation Service, Social Services or senior prison officers, in the form of independent references or reports.
  • If more than one offence was committed, whether each was a separate offence or part of a series of similar offences.
  • The potential impact on fellow students, staff and others with whom the applicant will have contact.

 8. One of the following decisions will be made by the Panel:

  • To require further information from the applicant or a third party;
  • To recommend an invitation for interview to be issued;
  • To recommend an offer to be made with no further conditions;
  • To recommend a conditional offer to be made, for example with a condition relating to pastoral issues such as support for the applicant. In such cases, the Head of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach will contact the applicant to outline the conditions set by the Criminal Convictions Group;
  • To recommend that the application is rejected.

9. The Panel’s recommendation will be communicated to the college, which will then form its own view on whether or not to consider the student for admissions. Other than for the purposes of the investigation involved in compiling the information to be considered by the Panel, communication with the applicant should be solely through the college.

10. Recording the Panel’s recommendation: The conclusions of the Panel and the reasons for its conclusions should be recorded. The draft must be seen and agreed by the Panel and signed off by its chairman.

11. Handling of an appeal: Appeals will be considered by the Chairman of ADEX. The decision on an appeal will be conveyed to the applicant in a letter from the Chairman of ADEX explaining that the decision is final.

12. The handling and holding of information gathered in considering an application: Members of the Panel should not share information on the case, whether provided in the dossier or elicited during discussion of the Panel, with any third party. Once the Panel has made its recommendation, all members of the Panel should hand all papers related to the case to the Director of the UAO who shall ensure that they are destroyed. A single copy of the papers together with the record of the proceedings should kept in a secure place within the UAO separate from any other papers for a period of six months, and in the event of an appeal, for a period of six months after the conclusion of the appeal, and then destroyed.

13. The college will be responsible for ensuring that any information that the college chooses to retain is handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

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