Rachel Tynan

About Rachel Tynan

Rachel leads on producing new guidance and content for this website. She is the policy and practice lead at Unlock and leads the charity's work to support employers in the fair treatment of people with criminal records. Find out more about Rachel.

Midlands university risks carrying out ineligible checks

Lawrence contacted us about a post advertised at a university in the Midlands. The job, Head of Business Programmes, involved working with departments within the university and developing relationships with external partners. Lawrence was surprised then to see that the job description said the post would involve an enhanced DBS check. It wasn’t clear why […]

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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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Guest blog: Bloomsbury Institute becomes the first higher education institute to Ban the Box for staff and students

Bloomsbury Institute London (formerly the London School of Business and Management) has become the first higher education institute in the UK to Ban the Box for students and staff.  Founded in 2002, Bloomsbury Institute is built around an academic community that values diversity, curiosity and hard work and they dedicated to welcoming anyone who has […]

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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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Should schools ask applicants to self-disclose criminal records?

This post considers when self-disclosure could (and when it probably shouldn’t) play a role in the recruitment process. ‘Self-disclosure’ in this context means individuals providing an employer with details about their criminal record. This is in contrast to official disclosure, which means carrying out criminal record checks using the appropriate government agency – in England […]

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Asking applicants to self-disclose can be deemed excessive, says ICO

Last month we published research that showed almost three-quarters of employers ask about criminal records at application stage. Being asked to self-disclose puts off applicants. Unlock encourages employers to consider whether they need to ask about criminal records at all. If you need to ask, questions should be targeted – for example, only asking at […]

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Changes to the recruitment process of a hospice whose application form was unclear about what needed to be disclosed

We received a call to our helpline about a hospice who were asking a misleading question about criminal records. The hospice has some jobs that involve regulated activity and they are therefore entitled to ask about cautions and spent convictions, and required to carry out an enhanced DBS check. However, the caller was applying for […]

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