A question of fairness: Greggs

Greggs’ Fresh Start programme has been running since 2012. In that time they say they have employed one hundred people with previous convictions and that 32% are now in some form of management role. The Fresh Start programme recruits people in prison who are eligible to work outside on ROTL, and is also open to people serving sentences in the community.

Greggs do a lot of work to promote their programme and encourage other employers to follow their example. They promote the employment of people with convictions and cite their work ethic and loyalty as benefits. Roisin Currie, group people director at the bakery chain has said:

Our retention rate for ex-offenders via our Fresh Start programme in 2015 is 78%, which we are very proud of.

However, Greggs still have a question about convictions on their application form. It’s clearly worded and refers people to guidance on how to find out if their conviction is unspent but we wonder why it needs to be there at all?

We don’t think any employer needs to ask about convictions at application stage. We know it puts people off applying. Greggs employ 23,000 people in the UK so could be missing out hard-working and loyal employees who think they won’t stand a chance. This is a shame given the work Greggs have done to give some that much needed Fresh Start.

We have asked Greggs to consider removing the question from their application form, and we’ll let you know what they say.

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Rachel Tynan