6 March 2018
REC backs ‘Ban the Box’ campaign

The Ban the Box campaign – designed to increase employment opportunities for people with convictions has received new backing from The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). As a result, the REC will not ask questions about criminal records at the application stage of the recruitment process, but will ask the questions at a later stage.

Banning the box calls for UK recruiters and employers to remove the tick box from application forms that asks whether a candidate has a criminal conviction or not. Ban the Box is led by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), which found that three quarters of employers admit to discriminating against applicants with a criminal record. There are 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:   

“Diversity and inclusion in hiring is critical for organisations who want to attract the best talent available. That’s why we want to tackle the issues that people with criminal records face when trying to find a job. The REC is proud to sign up to Ban the Box and we are improving our recruitment processes in line with this.

“The recruitment industry has a key role to play in supporting people with criminal records to get into work, so we’re helping our members put inclusive hiring at the forefront. Recruiters are in a unique position with the power to transform people’s lives, so they need to take steps to ensure their processes are fair and give everyone the chance to succeed.”

Transparency around a candidate’s working history have received heightened media attention of late as major charities, most notably Oxfam, struggle to justify how rigorous their own checks on candidates are after several high-profile impropriety scandals. Major employers that have banned the box include the Civil Service, Boots and Carillion.

Later this year, the REC will launch a practical guide, which we have developed with charities BITC, Nacro and Unlock, to help agencies with the recruitment of people with criminal records. This will outline steps they can take to ensure their processes are compliant, fair and inclusive.

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