Mehmet contacted our helpline following an application he’d made for a volunteering role with a well-known charity.
Mehmet explained that having recently been accepted by the charity as a volunteer he’d just been told that he would need to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check prior to starting his training. He was concerned that having two convictions (one of which had resulted in a prison sentence) would stop him from continuing with the training and ultimately volunteering.
We suggested that before completing the DBS application, Mehmet arrange to speak to his branch director and have an informal discussion about his convictions; they would hopefully be able to give him an indication of how the charity risk assessed and considered applicants with a criminal record.
The following week Mehmet contacted the helpline with an update. He’d spoken to the DBS coordinator at the charity and had been told that they had no blanket bans on the recruitment of people with a criminal record; they would assess each applicant on an individual basis to ensure that there were no restrictions or conditions which would prevent them from volunteering. The coordinator explained to Mehmet that depending on the contents of his DBS, it may be necessary for it to be considered by a review panel.
On receipt of the enhanced certificate, Mehmet was informed that it would be taken to the charity’s DBS panel for a decision. He was asked to provide further information including the circumstances that had led to the offences and what, if anything, he had done since being convicted to change his life. Mehmet was asked to provide the information in writing and was reassured that only the branch director and the panel would have sight of the information. The panel members would not be provided with Mehmet’s name.
A helpline advisor discussed with Mehmet what he should include in the disclosure and provided him with feedback on his first draft.
Following the panel meeting Mehmet contacted the helpline:
“I’ve just heard from the DBS panel and glad to say it’s good news and I can continue with my training and volunteering. I’ve been blown away by how helpful Unlock has been and doubt whether I could have made some of the positive steps I’ve taken without your input.”
We often hear organisations say that they ‘have no blanket bans on recruiting people with convictions’ and they ‘assess each applicant on an individual basis’ but it’s great to see a charity such as this who do exactly what they say they’ll do.
- Practical information: Criminal record checks for employment (basic, standard and enhanced DBS checks)
- Practical information: Disclosing criminal records to employers
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.