Bristol City Council becomes first local authority to Ban the Box

We’re delighted that Bristol City Council has today become the first local authority to sign up to Ban the Box. Ban the Box calls on UK employers to create a fair opportunity for people with convictions to compete for jobs by removing the tick box from application forms and asking about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process.

Speaking at an Employer Champions Network event hosted by Business in the Community today, Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member and Chair of Bristol City Council’s Human Resources Committee, said:

“We’re taking this step because we want to be an employer that encourages and provides opportunities for people from all backgrounds. There’s also a benefit for us in that we’re unblocking a barrier that will ensure we’re making the most of Bristol’s deep talent pool.

We’re a city of broad talents and being one of the largest employers in the West of England we want to show others that this approach does not open the organisation to greater risk. Instead it increases an employer’s ability to recruit the right person for the right job whilst still ensuring the right and proper checks are in place.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said in a statement:

“Bristol is a place where the opportunities to share in the city’s success are not evenly distributed and barriers exist that prevent some from fulfilling their potential. Our aim is to remove one of those barriers and send a message that we’re interested in getting to know the person applying for the job first and begin our conversation there.”

Business in the Community’s Employment Director, Cath Sermon said:

“Bristol City Council has taken a huge step towards reducing reoffending in Bristol through its inclusive recruitment practices. We’d now like to see all local authorities Ban the Box. As some of the largest employers in their localities, councils are in a unique position to give local people with convictions the chance to turn their lives around and make a positive contribution to society.”

Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“The fact that Bristol City Council has today become the first local authority to sign up to Ban the Box shows their commitment towards removing unnecessary barriers and recognising the skills and abilities that people with criminal convictions can bring to the work force. They want to show others that this approach does not open the organisation to greater risk and this represents an important opportunity to spread this good practice so that councils up and down the country are encouraged to follow in their footsteps. Not only will this be of benefit to them as an employer, but it will help to send a strong message to local employers that it’s the right thing to do.”

Notes

  1. More information about Ban the Box
  2. Guidance for employers on when to ask about convictions.
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Christopher Stacey