A question of fairness: John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) includes Waitrose and John Lewis. Their online application form asks applicants to indicate whether they have an unspent conviction. The question is compulsory. Selecting ‘Yes’ from the drop-down menu leads to the request for details. The application doesn’t explain why this information is necessary, or what will happen to it. […]

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A question of fairness: Greggs

Greggs’ Fresh Start programme has been running since 2012, and they say they have employed one hundred people with previous convictions and that 32% now hold some form of a Management role. The Fresh Start programme recruits people who are in prison and eligible to work outside on ROTL, and is also open to people […]

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A question of fairness: Spar

Some applications for retail positions in Spar stores ask about criminal records. We contacted Spar to understand why and the Head of HR confirmed:  …we do not ask applicants questions regarding Criminal Records and we do not need to (given the nature of our work) undertake DBS checks. It’s refreshing to see a retailer assess […]

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Asking for self-disclosure during recruitment – is it necessary?

Asking applicants to self-disclose criminal records information is seen by most employers as part and parcel of the standard recruitment process. Whether it’s a tick box on the application form or part of pre-employment checks, asking has been the norm. The advent of the GDPR means employers need be clear about the purpose of self-disclosure […]

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The role of the Information Commissioners Office with misleading questions on employment application forms

We were contacted recently by an individual who was concerned about a question being asked about criminal records on a builder’s merchant’s application form, which stated: “As part of our standard procedure we require a police check for every employee. Are you prepared to undergo a police check? ☐ Yes ☐ No  Have you ever […]

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Global manufacturer asking misleading questions on their employment application form

We were contacted recently by an individual who had some concerns about the questions that a global manufacturing company were asking about criminal records on their employment application form. The form stated: “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence? (Including motor offences but excluding parking fines) Have you ever received a formal police […]

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Recruiting apprentices in the motoring industry? Make sure you ask the right questions

We’ve recently been advising a large motor manufacturer who was asking a misleading question on their online apprenticeship application form. It stated: “Have you any convictions, including both spent and unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974? If yes, please provide details.” We believed that the apprenticeship role being offered would be […]

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Doing enhanced DBS checks? Make sure you get any questions about criminal records right

We were contacted by an individual who was concerned that a question on an employer’s application form in respect of a job requiring an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks was misleading as it did not provide any guidance around ‘protected’ cautions and convictions. The question on the application form stated: “Criminal Convictions (see guidance […]

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Organisations need to make it clear if they want applicants to disclose

We’ve recently been involved in a case where a student’s union was considering taking disciplinary action against one of its new trustees for failing to disclose their conviction. The trustee concerned had an unspent conviction at the time of their election to the board. After extensive research she had satisfied herself that her offence would […]

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