Business in the Community (BITC) has announced that its Ban the Box campaign has hit a milestone by collectively opening up over 1 million roles to jobseekers with criminal convictions, giving them a fair chance at securing a position which suits their skills.
Set up in 2013, Ban the Box urges businesses to remove the criminal convictions tick box from their application forms, although businesses can still ask about convictions later in the process if appropriate.
Seven years on, 150 employers – including banks, law firms and supermarket chains – are helping the 11.7 million people in the UK with criminal convictions to apply for work without fear of discrimination.
The Ministry of Justice has estimated that reoffending is costing taxpayers, businesses and communities £18.1bn annually. But when those with criminal convictions are in work, they are 34% less likely to reoffend.
BITC has suggested that 35% of Ban the Box employers believe that being part of the campaign has solved skills shortages in their businesses, a third shared that being part of this initiative has helped retain or win new contracts and 74% found that commitment to the campaign has benefited their reputation.
Nicola Inge, employment and skills director,BITC, said: “The 150 companies who have stepped up to Ban the Box understand that finding your next recruit isn’t about ticking a box, it’s about considering people with the right skills and experience, and not judging them on past mistakes.
“Those companies which haven’t banned the box could be locking themselves out of a talent pool totalling 11.7 million people in the UK. These people could diversify the workforce and provide a huge return on a company’s investment – but they need to be given a second chance.”
Lucy Frazer, minister for prisons and probation, added that there are “few better ways to reduce reoffending” than getting former offenders into work and the government has been leading by example on this.
She said: “In the Civil Service, we have banned the box from all but the most sensitive roles and I’d urge all employers to follow suit. You will be helping shape a nation with less crime and fewer victims while giving these men and women a second chance.”