What is Fair Chance Recruitment?

Fair Chance Recruitment encourages employers to recruit people with convictions and deal with criminal records fairly.

Fair Chance Recruitment:

  1. “Bans the box” from application forms and delays questions about convictions until later in the recruitment process
  2. Doesn’t discourage applicants with a criminal record
  3. Recognises the limited value of criminal records and questions their inclusion in recruitment decisions
  4. Supports employers that need to use criminal record information by actively developing their company policy and practice to become fairer and more inclusive towards people with criminal records. This includes proper consideration of the length of time passed since the offence, what the person has done since being convicted, and whether the offence bears any relation to the job itself.

Principles of Fair Chance Recruitment

The principles are broad guidelines on recruiting people with convictions.

To have integrity and purpose, we need principles to underpin, guide and test the pragmatic, and often contingent, approach taken by organisations towards the recruitment of people with criminal records.

The principles have been developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders including employers, recruitment professionals and data protection experts, and people with a criminal record. They are designed to be used as a benchmark for employers in ensuring the fair treatment of people with criminal records.

We are working to help employers put these principles into practice by developing this website into a resource centre for employers and recruitment professionals, and working closely with a small number of larger employers. As part of this work, we will be looking to add more detail to each of the principles. If you’re interested in receiving updates about this work, sign up to our mailing list.


In our approach to employers, Unlock is promoting ‘Fair Chance Recruitment’ policies. These originate from the United States (where they’re known as ‘Fair Chance Hiring’ practices) and have ‘Ban the Box’ at the heart of changes in employer recruitment practice. All of Us or None and the National Employment Law Project in particular have promoted this in the United States.

This site promotes Fair Chance Recruitment from a UK perspective. Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #FairChanceUK


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