People with criminal records make good employees.
Make sure you’re not missing out.
- Over 10.5 million people in the UK have a criminal record, with around a third of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance having received a criminal record in the last 10 years, and yet 75% of employers admit to discriminating against applicants on the basis of a criminal record.
- People with irrelevant criminal records are often discouraged from applying for jobs that ask about them on the application form.
- Employers can’t afford to ignore the diverse talent of people with criminal records.
Seeing beyond the past
The film below was produced by ITV Fixers. It shows why it’s important for you to look at how you deal with criminal records as part of your recruitment process.
It makes business sense to recruit people with convictions
- There are over 10.5 million people with a criminal record on the Police National Computer
- Around a third of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance have received a criminal record in the last 10 years
- 1 in 3 men (and one in 9 women) have a criminal record by the age of 56
- Only 8% of people that receive a conviction end up going to prison
- There are over 1.2 million individuals that receive a conviction every single year
- A significant number of people (205,000 each year) receive cautions instead of convictions
- Of those employers that recruit people with convictions, 87% consider them to be at least as productive
- Increased retention – 47% of employers say that those they’ve recruited with convictions stayed for over 3 years. People with convictions are less likely to leave as they’re grateful for the opportunity you’ve given
- That’s why companies like Timpson and Greggs are so proactive in recruiting them
- Over half of people with a criminal record would not apply for a job where they needed to disclose their criminal record – known as the “chilling-effect”
- 71% of people with convictions think that ticking ‘yes’ to a question about convictions would affect their chances of getting the job
- Blanket policies and arbitrary rules bar suitable people
- Recruitment is, first and foremost, about finding the best person for the job
- This means selecting first based on merit
- Disclosures at application or interview take time and effort to consider, before you’re even worked out whether they’re a potential candidate for the job
- Dealing with convictions later in the recruitment process is mutually beneficial – it gives you a better chance of getting the right person, and it gives the individual a chance to prove his/her value
- Of those employers who promote the fact that they employ people with convictions, around two-thirds (65%) say it’s had a positive impact on their corporate reputation.
There are legal implications of getting it wrong
- Misleading questions can breach data protection legislation
- It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to accept, or to dismiss, a person for having a spent caution or conviction for roles that are only eligible to under a basic disclosure (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
- It is unlawful for an employer to take into account a protected (filtered) caution or conviction that would not be disclosed on a standard or enhanced disclosure when making a decision on an individual for a role where a standard or enhanced check can be carried out (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013)
- Given that around 75% of checks that are done are at an enhanced level, it is clear that, although ‘standard’ and ‘enhanced’ checks were designed to be the ‘exception’, they are very much now ‘the rule’ when it comes to formal vetting for criminal record checks. Some employers carry out enhanced checks on all job applicants, which exceeds what they are entitled to do. “Enhanced DBS checks are carried out on all staff” is the statement of many employers.
- It is a criminal offence for an employer to knowingly carry out a standard or enhanced disclosure for a role which is not exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (under section 123 of Part V of the Police Act 1997)
- It is a criminal offence for an employer to require an individual to make an enforced subject access request to obtain their police records to then share with the employer (under section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998)
In practice you’re probably already employing them
- Many employers recruit people without knowing their past – only 1 in 3 applicants say they would declare their criminal convictions when asked on an application form
- In total, there are around 5 million criminal record checks each year
- Ever year, over 240,000 criminal record checks disclose convictions or cautions
- The number of DBS checks alone rose from 1.2 million in 2002 to 3.9 million in 2013/14
- Criminal record checks were introduced to discourage the few individuals that wish to harm vulnerable people from being in a position to do so, and to support employers in their assessment of an applicant’s suitability for the role
- Criminal record checks were not intended to prevent otherwise suitable applicants from accessing employment, education or training, or be a filtering mechanism for recruitment decisions
- There are over 10.5 million people with a criminal record in the UK
- Stable meaningful employment is proven to reduce re-offending, meaning less crime and fewer victims
- It plays a key role in former lawbreakers not only ‘going straight’ but ‘staying straight’ and reaching their true potential.
- Employment is proven to reduce re-offending by between a 33 and 50%.
- People with convictions make up a sizeable proportion of the unemployed population – 33% of Job Seekers Allowance claimants received a criminal record in the last ten years.
- With a job, people become tax-payers and contributors, rather than burdens on the state. They can support their children and families too.