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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The Old Vic

The Old Vic is an independent, not-for-profit theatre in London and a world leader in creativity and entertainment. It was the original home of the English National Opera, the Sadler’s Wells dance company and the National Theatre. It has also served the community, over the last 200 years, as a tavern, a coffee house, meeting […]

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NHS Employers publish new guidance on recruiting people with convictions

NHS Employers have a new look website with brand new guidance on recruiting people with criminal records. NHS Employers worked in partnership with Unlock, Nacro and Capsticks on their new approach and have made some important changes to the process. Most importantly, the guidance on seeking a self-declaration has been updated. NHS recruiters should no longer be […]

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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. 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 […]

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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 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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