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We consider the information we receive about applicants on a case-by-case basis

You may worry about accepting an application with a conviction or caution or what to do when a current student is convicted or receives a caution. In particular, you may be concerned about them not being able to join the HCPC Register after they have completed their programme.

Because we consider the information we receive on a case-by-case basis, we cannot provide a list of convictions and cautions that would definitely lead us reject an application for registration. We also cannot provide a list of convictions or cautions that should definitely lead to you rejecting an application.

However, there are certain types of offences which we believe usually mean a person should not be registered within one of the professions we regulate. The types of convictions which might result in us removing a registrant from the Register usually relate to offences of a sexual nature or dishonesty. These types of convictions might prevent an applicant registering with us.


When an applicant applies to the HCPC, we ask them to declare if they have:

  • been convicted of a criminal offence or received a police caution or conditional discharge for a criminal offence other than a protected caution or protected conviction (these are cautions and convictions that you do not need to tell us about);
  • received cautions or convictions in countries outside the United Kingdom, if the offence is one that could have resulted in a caution or conviction in England or Wales;
  • been subject to disciplinary action by a higher education institution, including both HCPC and non-HCPC approved courses; or
  • another organisation responsible for regulating a health or social-care profession has taken action or made a finding against you.

Making decisions

When you make admissions decisions, you may want to consider the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics and Guidance on conduct and ethics for students. You may also want to consider whether the individual’s conviction or caution might affect their suitability for registration or affect the public’s confidence in their profession.

When making a decision, you may want to consider:

  • the number and nature of offence(s) or event(s);
  • the seriousness of the offence(s) or event(s);
  • when and where the offence(s) or event(s) took place;
  • any information you have given to help explain the circumstances;
  • the student’s character and conduct since the offence(s) or event(s);
  • the likelihood of repetition;
  • the relevance of the matter to the practise of the relevant profession; and
  • the wider public interest, including confidence in the profession concerned and the regulatory process.

However, this is not a full list to help you decide the seriousness or significance of the issues you will need to consider. An understanding of the offence or misconduct is extremely important. Someone may have a greater understanding of the importance of ‘good character’ as a result of a previous minor offence.

We know that deciding whether to accept an applicant with a criminal conviction or caution can be difficult. It is important to remember that even if you make your own decision about an applicant and allow them to join your programme, they will still have to go through our character process when they apply to join the Register. Whether you have considered a student’s conviction or caution (received before admission to your programme or during the programme) is one of the factors we will consider when they apply for registration. However, it is rare for us to refuse an applicant from an approved programme.

The types of convictions which might result in an applicant not being allowed to Register or usually relate to offences of a sexual nature, violence or dishonesty.

We will consider rejecting an application for registration, or removing someone from the Register if already registered, if they are convicted of a criminal offence or accept a police caution that involves one of the following types of behaviour:

  • Violence
  • Abuse
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Supplying drugs illegally
  • Child pornography
  • Offences involving dishonesty
  • Offences for which you received a prison sentence
Page updated on: 30/07/2021