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UK employers must stop discriminating against ex-offenders, says BITC

Charity organisation Business in the Community (BITC) has called on UK employers to remove the default criminal-record disclosure tick-box from job application forms.

BITC is calling for the ban as part of its campaign to address the discrimination faced by job-seeking ex-offenders. 'Ban the Box' aims to enable more ex-offenders to access work.

One in five people in the UK have a criminal record and research from Working Links earlier this year found three-quarters of employers admit to using a criminal conviction to discriminate against an applicant.

Stephen Howard, BITC chief executive, said: "If individuals are diverted away from the trap of re-offending and into employment, they become positive contributors to their local area and the economy.

"The ex-offender population includes a large number of dedicated, motivated and diverse potential employees, who continue to be excluded by blanket screening procedures or put off from applying for roles as they believe ticking the X puts them out of the running."

As well as removing the default tick-box, BITC want existing policies and practices relating to the recruitment of people with criminal convictions examined.

It urged HR departments to check or revise company policies and practice around employing ex-offenders.