BITC and Boots Urge UK Businesses to ‘Ban the Box’ for Criminal Records

Business-led charity Business in the Community (BITC) is launching a campaign spearheaded with Boots calling on UK firms to ‘Ban the Box’ and remove the tick box from application forms that asks jobseekers about criminal convictions. With 9.2m people in the UK holding a criminal record, Edwina Hughes, the campaign manager for reducing re-offending at BITC, said: “Using the blunt instrument of a tick box, employers reject passionate, skilled employees.” It also costs the taxpayer more, as unemployed ex-offenders are far more likely to re-offend. This can range from someone who has received a £300 fine for a driving offence and has to tick the box for five years, to someone with a prison sentence of more than two and a half years who has to tick the box for the rest of their life. Boots will seek to have removed all tick boxes by early next year, although he adds that “in the interim no candidate will be eliminated on the basis of their conviction alone”. Companies are also asked to publically highlight their commitment and share best practice, and individuals are asked to contact their HR departments and urge them to join the campaign. “It’s simply unfair to apply a ‘tick box’ system to ‘offenders’ as there are so many different factors in-play around each case,” said Rick Mower, the chief executive officer of Aspire Oxfordshire, a former Recruiter charity of choice. “Removing the ‘tick box’ is a great step forward.”

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