BITC calling on UK employers to Ban the Box

I am a supporter of this campaign by Business in the Community,  to level the playing field and judge job seekers on skill level first.

[caption id="attachment_129" align="aligncenter" width="300"]P1000960 Bob Ashford (pictured with Rose and Edwina) resigned as the Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Avon and Somerset, when he realised that a childhood offence barred him from standing.[/caption]

The tick box can act as a barrier to entering employment for many people, as Daley, who has criminal convictions and now works at the Camden Garden Centre, explains:

“The very first thing they know about me is that I have a conviction, not about your interest in the job, or your experience or skills, just the conviction. Once an employer sees that tick box, lots of them already rule you out.”

This issue costs our society £11 billion a year. (1)

Over 60% of short-term prisoners re-offend within a year of release (2), at a cost to business, communities and taxpayers.

When research shows that employment reduces offending by 33-50% (3), it’s in every community’s interest to reduce the barriers to work for people with criminal convictions.

Ban the Box levels the playing field

Removing the tick box takes away the opportunity for employers to immediately judge an applicant because they have a criminal record. Instead they see their suitability for the role first.

The campaign has had success in the USA, led there by the National Employment Law Project. In the city of Minnesota, where the City Council banned the box, 57.4% of applicants with convictions in the last seven years were hired (2007-08), compared to just 5.7% hired before the box was removed (2004-6).

Ex-offenders not only contribute as taxpayers, but contribute as good employees

A diverse, engaged workforce is essential to any business.

Removing a default tick box is not about increasing risk or changing job specifications. It’s about benefiting the business by recruiting from a wider pool, only considering criminal convictions where they are relevant to a specific role.

Someone with a criminal conviction made a mistake in the past.  However, they may also be the best person for the job.


1. Employers and Offenders: Reducing crime through work and rehabilitation, CIPD

2. Managing offenders on short custodial sentences, National Audit Office

3. Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners, Social Exclusion Unit

Additionally, the figure of 9.2 million people in the UK with a criminal record is taken from the NPIA Business Plan 2009/10

– See more at:

16/10/13 new campaign calling on UK employers to Ban the Box

9.2 million people in the UK have a criminal record – more than the population of London. Yet research sugests that three-quarters of employers use a criminal conviction to discriminate against an applicant, meaning that millions of job seekers are blocked from employment.



Watch our film to see why we’re asking employers to Ban the Box.
Kindly created by Leo Burnett Change.              



What does that mean?Ban the Box urges employers to remove the tick box from application forms which asks about criminal convictions.To benefit from a diverse talent pool, employers should assess job seekers on their skills and abilities first. A ticked box may mean that an otherwise suitable candidate is automatically excluded.For most jobs (all the unregulated ones), it’s up to each recruiter whether they want to ask. If disclosure is requested, we believe it should happen at a later stage in the application process to allow applicants to be judged first on their suitability for the role.



We can help you to Ban the Box.This isn’t a niche issue – we need to change the way we think about recruitment of people with criminal convictions.Find out why you should Ban the Box, how you can do it, and thesupport on offer on our website.And start by signing up for the first in our series of online surgeries on 11th December to help you to understand ‘The Legal Stuff’.



What else can you do?Everyone has a part to play in this campaign. You can start bysigning our petition to show that you want UK employers to take this step.

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