Prestige Recruitment Specialists, an award-winning recruitment agency that operates throughout Hull, Leeds and Norwich, are delighted to announce that they now ‘Ban the Box’ both as an employer and recruiter – a first in the recruitment industry in these regions.
At a time when employers across all sectors are struggling to fill their vacancies, Prestige took up the challenge to think differently and more innovatively about how we recruit and support our clients to recruit and retain the workforce of the future.
There are over 11 million people with a criminal record in the UK. Employment is one of the most important building blocks in ensuring people with convictions can make a fresh start and stop reoffending, but many ex-offenders who need a second chance are prevented from accessing work because of outdated discriminatory recruitment practices.
Prestige has worked with Dominic Headley and Associates (DHA), leading experts in this area to develop safe and inclusive recruitment policies and practices that enable both our organisation and our clients to ‘tap into a new talent pool’ confidently and effectively.
As a result of our work together, Prestige no longer asks any applicants – whether employed directly by us, or those applying to use our work finding services for permanent and temporary roles – about criminal convictions at the initial application stage. Instead, criminal convictions are discussed at the end of the registration process. Any roles with clients that may require disclosure of a criminal record are always discussed and agreed with the candidate first; then our consultants support the candidate on how to provide a positive disclosure to the client.
Prestige aims to lead the way in offering people a chance to turn their lives around while at the same time helping to keep our communities safer. Our decision to Ban the Box means that candidates with a criminal record can now apply for vacancies at Prestige with the knowledge and complete confidence that they will be assessed fairly on their skills and ability to do the job before any consideration of their criminal record.
Nigel Stabler, Managing Director of Prestige Recruitment Specialists, said today: “We are delighted to have introduced this initiative across our business. Removing the barrier of a tick box when applying for a role can make all the difference to a person’s future. We hope in leading the way with this initiative in these regions, we are helping to widen the talent pool and show forward thinking by playing a part in reducing a person’s chance of reoffending.
“As an organisation, we recognise the valuable contribution people with convictions can bring to our society and actively encourage people who want to move on from their past mistakes to apply for relevant vacancies with us. We believe, if someone has been punished by the courts and served their time, why should they go on being penalised after their sentence has finished?”
Dominic Headley, Director, DHA, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Prestige Recruitment Specialists on their successful journey to ‘Ban the Box’ both as an employer and recruiter. We work with employers across many sectors including the industrial sector, social care and the health sector. Many of these employers are suffering from chronic skills gaps and need to work with pioneering recruitment agencies that have the expertise to help them to recruit and retain the right person for the job regardless of their background. The model developed with Prestige takes into account the new GDPR/DPA 2018 requirements for dealing with criminal record information, it helps to embed the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) education and employment strategy; and also ensures Prestige can support their clients to strike the right balance between safeguarding and enabling people with convictions equal access to employment opportunities.”
By signing up to the Ban the Box national campaign led by Business in the Community, Prestige joins more than 100 employers that are creating a fair chance for ex-offenders to apply and compete for jobs and help reduce the £15 billion cost of reoffending, including: the Civil Service, Tideway, Boots, Virgin Trains and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
Jessica Rose, Campaign Manager for Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, said: “Two-thirds of employers admit to discriminating against people with criminal records but the employers we work with recognise the skills and loyalty this diverse group of people can bring to their roles. We need more forward-thinking organisations like Prestige Recruitment Specialists to join the campaign to help stop the cycle of reoffending.”
Through signing up to Ban the Box and considering whether, when and how to ask about criminal convictions, employers can play a vital role in reducing reoffending while gaining access to a larger and diverse talent pool.
Employers large and small are urged to join Ban the Box to help remove barriers to 1 million jobs across the UK by 2020. Log onto: https://www.bitc.org.uk/ for more information.
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