Skip navigation

Declaring convictions and cautions

When applying for HCPC registration, by law you must declare any convictions or police cautions that you have received (even if they are ‘spent’). The only exemptions to this are protected cautions or protected convictions. This wording comes from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

This Act states that after a certain period of time has elapsed, individuals no longer have to declare their conviction or caution, so that they can be reintegrated into society. The conviction or caution is then considered ‘protected’.

Listed offences

Cautions and convictions for ‘listed offences’ must always be disclosed to us: they are not protected under the Rehabilitation or Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. ‘Listed offences’ include serious violent and sexual offences which are of specific relevance to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

HCPC’s protection periods

  • Cautions (for over-18s) - six years after acceptance
  • Cautions (for under-18s) - two years after acceptance
  • Convictions (for over-18s) - 11 years after acceptance*
  • Convictions (for under-18s) - five and a half years after acceptance*

*Convictions will only be protected if the offender received a non-custodial sentence and has no other convictions.

HCPC follows the requirements that are set for England and Wales. Protection periods do differ in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we have standardised them to ensure all registrants are treated the same. We follow the requirements for England and Wales because they provide the highest degree of protection for rehabilitation.

More information

Further information about listed offences can be found on the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Services website.


Still have a question about legal guidelines?

For more information or to discuss these guidelines, please contact our Registration team:


Page updated on: 14/06/2018