In 2013, Business in the Community (BITC) launched the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign to redress the balance in the number of employers who were reluctant to consider the idea of opening their talent pool to people with criminal convictions.  A report published in 2021 examines the benefits.

When the campaign was started 75% of employers surveyed stated that they would discriminate against a candidate with a criminal conviction.  BITC therefore focused on getting employers to remove the criminal convictions tick box from applications to overcome objections.  However, from an employer perspective most believed that to do this would increase risk for their business, make their recruitment process more complicated, or require extra capacity to support people with convictions.

The campaign now covers more than one million jobs, thanks to a growing movement of employers who have committed to Ban the Box and adopt a fair approach to the recruitment of people with convictions.  More people with criminal convictions are able compete for jobs based on their skills and experience rather than being excluded for a past mistake.

Ban the Box has been adopted by organisations of all sizes and sectors in the UK – including large national businesses, charities and community organisations, regulated industries, and the public sector. It allows businesses to benefit from a diverse, untapped talent pool, while also bringing down the £18.1 billion annual cost of reoffending for businesses, taxpayers, and communities.

The impact of Ban the Box campaign can be seen in the BITC research survey with over 40 employers. The insights gathered in the report demonstrate the benefits of becoming a Ban the Box employer.  Regardless of the size or industry sector, organisations involved can open up their talent pool to the 11.7 million people with criminal convictions which demonstrates social value.

The Outcome

Banning the criminal conviction tick box enables people with convictions to enter the workplace or progress their careers.  Often this can lead to employers taking further steps to support people with convictions through partnerships which benefits all of society.  Given that in 2022, a lot of sectors and employers are now struggling to fill their vacancies, this is a recruitment option that merits consideration.

To read the full report click here.