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Nacro and the CIPD release new guidance for employers on recruiting safely and fairly

Nacro, the crime reduction charity and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, with the support of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have today published guidance for employers and other organisations on safe and fair recruitment

Nacro, the crime reduction charity and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, with the support of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have today published guidance for employers and other organisations on safe and fair recruitment.

'Recruiting safely and fairly: a practical guide to employing ex-offenders' will be launched at an event hosted by leading law firm, Eversheds. It will be attended by senior business professionals from the private, public and voluntary sectors; it will also feature an expert panel and speakers including Jonathan Aitken

Over 10 million people in the UK have a criminal record, too many of whom face immense barriers to employment despite putting their past behind them.

In addition, Nacro’s Employer Advice Service receives many enquiries from organisations that struggle to understand the recent changes to legislation that impact upon the disclosure of criminal records. The guide is an essential tool for employers so that they can recruit safely and confidently when appointing individuals with criminal records, enabling them to tap into a vast talent pool.

The guide will help businesses:

  • Understand their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to dealing with people with histories of offending
  • Update and implement safer and fair recruitment policies and procedures
  • Confidently and effectively manage and mitigate any potential risks.


Jacob Tas, Nacro’s Chief Executive, said:

"We are delighted to have worked in partnership with the CIPD and DBS in developing this much needed guidance for employers.

A staggering 3 out 4 employers say they would use the declaration of a caution or conviction to discriminate against an applicant in favour of a candidate with no criminal record.

This has to change. Employers need to be supported to recruit the best candidate for the job. When that candidate is an individual with a criminal record they should not be refused posts because of offences which are not relevant to, and do not place them at or make them a risk in, the role for which they are applying.

Securing employment is a critical factor to an individual putting their past behind them. The aptitude and commitment required to fully participate in a recruitment process and to secure a job offer, demonstrates a step change in an individual’s thinking and behaviour. This achievement should be commended and not impeded by inappropriate recruitment practice”.

Dianah Worman OBE, CIPD Public Policy Adviser for Diversity at the CIPD, commented:

"Employers report that they increasingly struggle to find people with the right talent, skills and abilities and potential to fill their vacancies. Over 20% of the working population have a criminal record, yet many employers tend to be overcautious about offering work to ex-offenders; some even operate blanket exclusion policies when recruiting, despite the fact that contrary to popular understanding many employers' experiences of employing people with offending histories are extremely positive.

“The CIPD believes this guidance will help employers understand their legal obligations and hope that they will develop more inclusive policies and processes, so they can gain skilled and valuable employees from this huge diverse talent pool; and contribute to the longer term benefits to society that comes from the reduction in reoffending achieved by employment".

Geoffrey Mead, Partner at Eversheds, commented:

"We are delighted to support Nacro and the CIPD with the launch of their guidance on 'Recruiting safely and fairly'. We know all too well from our 'Criminality and the employment relationship’ briefings that we deliver together with Nacro, the legislation that impacts upon the recruitment and retention of people with offending histories can be complex. We welcome this guidance as it will no doubt reduce some of the challenges that organisations face.

Eversheds is proud to be a diverse and inclusive employer. We are a ‘Ban the Box’ employer, having changed our recruitment policy and process to ensure that we take a fair and measured approach to recruiting ex-offenders. It is important to us that talented people have equal access to the employment opportunities available, regardless of their background".