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Starting Work… Stopping Crime… Discussion – A Scottish response to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 Amendment


The UK Government has amended the 1974 Act and Recruit With Conviction is gathering evidence to provide a Scottish solution to enable people to start work and stop crime.


The facts:

  • Employment for ex-offenders reduces reoffending
  • A third of benefit claimants have criminal convictions
  • Ex-offenders have untapped potential for employers who recruit with conviction
  • Recruiting ex-offenders is endorsed by business leaders like Sir Richard Branson
  • There was never a time in history when criminal record history was more readily available

The Radical idea:

All convictions become spent when an individual is discharged from the Criminal Justice system. In other words, with the exception of jobs which put vulnerable people at risk or other exempted jobs like accountants, then any individual who is discharged by the criminal justice system is free to work without having to disclose their past convictions.

Ban the box idea:

If you were being introduced to an individual and told only that they had a dangerous dogs conviction, you would be surprised to see Princess Anne as the ex-offender. It is almost impossible for recruiters to avoid stereotyping ex-offenders! Ban the Box would stop employers asking about criminal convictions, until after they had assessed the candidate’s suitability for employment. The employer would still be able to deselect if the conviction was relevant, however they would be able to assess the candidate’s suitability for work without prejudice.

The Bureaucrats idea:

This would force employers to sign up to a code of practice for recruiting ex-offenders if they seek criminal record disclosure. This would require some sort of quota system whereby they would need to employ a certain percentage of ex-offenders in their workforce.

The Free Market idea:

On the basis that there is a significant untapped potential among ex-offenders, employers would be trusted to make good business decisions using the existing legislation. This would require a significant ongoing campaign and lobbying to businesses to help them overcome negative stereotyping. This would be expensive but business could pay for it.

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