New report highlights potentially hundreds of unlawful criminal record checks by employers each year and the lack of action by government in preventing them

Unlock, a national advocacy charity for people with criminal records, has today published Checked out?, a report on so-called ‘ineligible’ criminal record checks, submitted by employers and processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 allows some criminal records to become spent after a crime-free period. This means they […]

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Financial incentives to encourage hiring people with convictions

As we face an uncertain future we need all hands on deck to rebuild the economy. Unlock is calling on government to pilot financial incentives for employers who proactively recruit people with convictions. Many businesses are fearful of hiring people with a criminal record. Long-standing – but inaccurate – beliefs about reliability and risk mean […]

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HMPPS confirms prison and probation roles are covered by filtering rules

Samantha contacted Unlock’s helpline for advice on applying for a ‘Through the Gate’ role with Sodexo. The job involved helping women prepare for leaving prison and would be subject to prison vetting. Sodexo has banned the box, so Samantha was surprised to see the application form ask: Have you ever been convicted of any offences […]

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Recruiting with conviction at a time of national crisis

As the coronavirus spreads in the UK and government advice means millions of people are staying home to stay safe, there is an urgent need for people to help with key roles. The NHS are looking for 250,000 volunteers, while social care providers, supermarkets and other essential services are boosting their workforce. We’ve been contacted […]

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Unlock’s submission to the ICO’s call for views on processing criminal records data

The ICO is carrying out a survey to find out if organisations processing Article 10 data understand the data protection requirements for processing this information. Unlock have submitted a response based on our experience of working with employers, universities, housing providers and others. You can view our submission by clicking on the image below. The […]

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Do you collect criminal records information?

If you process this information for any reason, the Information Commissioner’s Office would like to hear from you. Employers, universities, insurers, membership organisations and others process criminal records information otherwise known as Article 10 data – for a variety of reasons. The sensitive nature of this data means there are particular safeguards in place to […]

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Humres Engineers – a blanket ban on applicants with convictions

Unlock’s Helpline received a call from an applicant concerned with the wording on a job advertised by Humres Engineers, a recruitment agency specialising in engineering roles. The job description, for a Lighting Protection Mate, included this statement: Some of the clients are schools/educational establishments so candidates MUST be happy to go through a full DBS […]

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Case study – Voluntary organisations should ensure that questions about criminal records on application forms are clear

Our helpline was recently contacted by an individual who was concerned about the statement and question being asked on a charity’s volunteer application form about criminal records. Their policy stated: Recruitment of ex-offenders – Because of the type of volunteering role, involving contact with vulnerable people, you are required by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act […]

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Music school asking applicants a misleading question

Robert contacted us about a job with a music school. The job was exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act as it involved working with young people and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check would be required for the successful applicant. However, applicants are entitled to withhold information about protected (or filtered) cautions or […]

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A fair chance for students with convictions

Today Unlock, in partnership with UPP Foundation, have launched the Fair Chance for Students with Convictions pledge. The pledge is a commitment on the part of higher education providers to ensure a fair chance for applicants. This includes: Asking applicants about criminal records only if – and when – necessary Asking targeted and proportionate questions […]

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