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Get involved! Government consultation on employer practices towards people with criminal records

The Cabinet Office (in partnership with the Ministry of Justice) are calling for evidence on the employment for people with convictions, and they want to hear from employers about recruitment practices, employability initiatives and evidence/impact. As well as employers, the Cabinet Office want to hear from organisations or professionals who:

  • work with people with convictions through the provision of skills training, outreach, mentoring, work placements.
  • work with people with convictions to help them find employment?
  • work with or advise other organisations on creating fair recruitment practices and supporting people with convictions in the labour market
  • campaign to reduce the stigma associated with having, or hiring someone with, a criminal conviction

We’ve shared this call for evidence with our network of employers and encourage you to do the same. However, we expect that the majority of employers that respond will have a more positive view of hiring people with convictions. While this is important, it’s just as important to hear about employers with negative views of employing people with a criminal record, so please share examples – anonymised if you prefer – of both in your response to the Cabinet Office, and share them with us too to help inform our response.

Although the consultation is not directly targeted at individuals, anyone can respond to the consultation so we would encourage people with a criminal record who have evidence and experiences linked to the areas below to respond.

Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock said:

“We’re very pleased to see the Cabinet Office launch this call for evidence, and we’re keen to raise awareness of it so that it reaches as many employers as possible. We’d really like to to encourage responses from businesses that perhaps have less positive approaches approaches to applicants with a criminal record, so that the government understand what some of the barriers are for employers. Alongside a number of positive examples of where employers do this well, we know that there are widespread negative attitudes towards applicants with a criminal record, and we’ll be making sure that these are reflected in our response so that we can encourage the government to do more to help change this.”

The consultation is looking at three areas, and we’ve suggested some questions below to consider in your response:

Recruitment practices

  1. What are employers doing – if anything – to promote fair recruitment for people with a criminal record?
  2. Do employers impose restrictions and/or bans on the hiring of ex-offenders for some or all jobs – and if so, why?
  3. What incentives or support could help employers sign up to Ban the Box?
  4. Examples of employers that proactively hire people with a criminal convictions. Examples of companies that restrict or refuse employment to people with convictions.


Employability initiatives

  1. Which companies run employability initiatives to support recruitment of people with criminal records?
  2. What support could be offered to employers to improve prospects for people with criminal records?


Evidence and impact

  1. What is the impact of employment – for business, for the individual, the community and the economy?
  2. What evidence is there of impact and what evidence could be collected better?


How to get involved

Read the full call for evidence here and complete and return your response to by 5pm on Friday 31 August 2018.

Unlock will be responding directly to the consultation too, so alongside making a response yourself, please do send us information that can help inform our response. You can email details (confidentially) to

Although the consultation is not directly targeted at individuals, anyone can respond to the consultation so we would encourage people with a criminal record who have evidence and experiences linked to the areas above to respond.



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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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