MPs call for Ban the Box to apply to all public bodies

A Work and Pensions Committee report into support for ex-offenders, published today, has called for all public bodies to Ban the Box, removing the tick box on job application forms that asks about an applicant’s criminal record.

This follows former Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in February that Ban the Box will apply to the entire Civil Service. The report and recommendations are a boost to Business in the Community’s Ban the Box campaign and work with businesses on reducing reoffending through employment.

The Committee encouraged employers to change their recruitment process to support ex-offenders and made a number of recommendations to Government and businesses alike, including:

  • Extending Ban the Box to all public bodies, with exclusions for the minority of roles where it would not be appropriate for security reasons

  • Pilot the reduction of National Insurance contributions for those employers who actively employ ex-offenders

  • Consider making banning the box a statutory requirement for all employers and develop practical guidance to help employers recruit ex-offenders

  • All prisons should be required to demonstrate strong links with employers, including local businesses

Nicola Inge, Campaign Manager at Business in the Community said: "We’re delighted that the Work and Pensions Committee has made a number of recommendations to improve the employment prospects of people with criminal convictions.  We welcome any incentives that encourage employers to play their part in reducing re-offending.

People with convictions represent a large talent pool that businesses cannot afford to overlook. By signing up to our Ban the Box campaign and delaying disclosure to later in the recruitment process, employers are able to make a more informed hiring decision and less likely to exclude talented candidates unnecessarily.

So far, more than 700,000 jobs with 75 employers, including the entire Civil Service, are covered by Ban the Box, removing the barriers to work in these companies for people with criminal convictions. We hope the Committee’s comments today will encourage many more organisations to follow.”

Find out more and sign up to Ban the Box.