‘Do you have any unspent criminal convictions? If yes please provide further details below.’
Your reaction to this question on a job application or agency registration form will probably depend on whether you are one of the 11 million people in the UK who has a criminal record. If the answer is no, you will probably not give the question a second thought as you complete the rest of the form. If the answer is yes… well, that’s a different story.
Business in the Community is spearheading a campaign to encourage employers to ‘Ban the Box’ which means removing the question from job application forms that ask applicants whether they have a criminal conviction. The process is designed to prevent applicants from being filtered out of the recruitment process at the earliest stage, allowing them instead to make the disclosure at a later stage, thereby giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their skill and capabilities.
The REC has recently signed up as a Ban the Box employer. Given that the REC generally uses agencies to recruit, this has also given us an opportunity to consider what support agencies need to be able to provide inclusive recruitment processes.
Agencies are legally required to make all such ‘reasonably practicable’ enquiries to ensure that it would not be detrimental to a candidate nor the client for the candidate to work in a particular role. But what does this mean in relation to criminal convictions?
We will be publishing guidance and a toolkit for members but in the meantime here are some of the things that agencies need to be aware of.
REC members can access further information in the REC Legal Guide.