Amended SMDA Guidance Issued

The Home Office has issued revised Scrap Metal Dealers Act guidance for local authorities.  The revised guidance was issued yesterday, May 20th.


The amendment to the guidance relates to the suitability criteria of applicants in relation to spent and unspent convictions.


The previous guidance document stated that “Only unspent convictions should be considered for individual applicants, site managers, partnerships and companies.” (Page 3)


As a result of lobbying by Jim Button, President of the Institute of Licensing, the Home Office accepted that the guidance is wrong in law.


As a result, they have reissued the guidance and amended the above paragraph to now read “Generally, local authorities should not consider spent convictions when making a decision on suitability and should disregard any spent convictions on the part of the applicant. Only if the local authority is satisfied that justice cannot be done except by admitting or requiring evidence relating to a person's spent convictions may the authority require the evidence and take it into account. In doing so, the local authority must have regard to the age, circumstances, relevance and seriousness of the spent convictions.”