Reducing Reoffending Through Employment - Business in the Community

Reducing Reoffending Through Employment

Use this toolkit to identify a number of methods your organisation can use to improve the lives of people with criminal convictions.

This toolkit identifies a number of methods that your business can use to improve and impact the lives of people with criminal convictions,reducing reoffending through employment

Improving outcomes for employability

Every employer, regardless of its size and sector, can be part of the solution to reduce reoffending in the UK, and benefit from a diverse and talented workforce.

To improve employability, a range of initiatives have been conducted by businesses such as employability workshops, work experience opportunities, job matching schemes and prison partnerships. This guide highlights some of the excellent examples that are already underway.

The business case

Employing people with convictions is not only the ‘right’ thing to do from a social perspective, but it can also bring significant benefits to your business:

  1. Address skill shortages by tapping into the talent pool of ex-offenders.
  2. Gain commercial advantage by demonstrating social value; actively employing people with convictions is a powerful way to do this.
  3. Address a commercial need by offering Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) placements to individuals who are nearing the end of their sentence.
  4. Diversify workforces, helping to reap the benefits that a diverse workforce brings, particularly for groups over-represented in the criminal justice system.
  5. Improve staff retention, organisations that actively employ people with criminal convictions report higher retention rates, reliability and productivity.
  6. Improve customer reputation, considering 81% of people think that businesses employing ex-offenders makes a positive contribution to society1.

How to make changes to your business

Improving employability outcomes for people with convictions should be hugely rewarding for your business, but it does take careful planning and commitment from across your organisation. This includes:

  • Securing internal buy-in from senior leaders in your team.
  • Being open and transparent about your approach to employing people with convictions to stakeholders.
  • Forming strategic partnerships with services that provide the relevant support.
  • Create an inclusive culture by engaging with employees at all levels of the business in delivering training, buddying people on work placements and employability workshops.

Business in the Community’s work on employment and skills

Business in the Community (BITC) supports organisations to create meaningful employment. This is one of the most significant ways that business contributes to the livelihoods of individuals and communities and is for many the only sustainable route out of poverty. 
Offering quality work experience, adopting new recruitment approaches, and breaking down barriers to entering work for people from disadvantaged groups can benefit business by tackling skills shortages, building new talent pipelines, boosting retention rates, and achieving higher productivity.
Employment and skills are part of the Business in the Community Responsible Business Map

Next step: contact Business in the Community’s Advisory Service Team

Support in this area is available from Business in the Community’s (BITC) Community Advisers. They help businesses create skilled and inclusive workforces by embedding essential skills, creating opportunities for all, and establishing successful education partnerships. Our advisers can also work with you to design and develop effective and sustainable cross-sector initiatives to build stronger communities.

Contact our Advisory Service Team to find out more.


1 HM Prison & Probation Service (2020) Employing prisoners and ex-offenders report, October 2020