Here at Landmarc, we believe that people from all walks of life can bring unique and valued skills to our business. That is why we have taken the initiative to support the Ban the Box campaign, led by Business in the Community (BITC), the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. Head of HR, David Jones, explains more about the campaign and why we’ve joined up.

About the campaign

“This BITC campaign is encouraging the removal of the criminal record tick box from job application forms, with the goal of increasing the opportunity for people with convictions to apply for more jobs.

“Many employers ask candidates about their criminal convictions at the very first stage of a job application. However, far too often, candidates are unable to get past this stage in the recruitment process, simply because they have to tick ‘yes’ to the ‘any previous convictions’ question. By banning the box, potential employers can consider convictions at a more appropriate stage in the recruitment process, ensuring a fairer application process for all.

Insights from the inside

“Our driver for joining up followed an opportunity to spend a day at HMP Leyhill to hear first-hand from inmates about why the Ban the Box campaign is so important to them and why good employers such as Landmarc are being asked to support the initiative.

“HMP Leyhill is an open prison where more trusted prisoners or those coming to the end of their sentences are held and provided with some preparation for return to normal life. However, even though this was a more open environment, I still found it to be a very salutary experience and realised the huge challenge that the return to the outside world can be.

“I spoke to a number of long term prisoners about the Ban the Box campaign, starting from the mind-set of any reasonable employer that if people declare they have convictions on initial application for a job then we will ensure that, providing their convictions are ‘spent’, they will get a fair chance at interview – so what is the problem? After hearing their stories, I soon learnt what the problem was. Having to declare up front to a potential employer that they have criminal convictions is a big psychological barrier and ex-prisoners know from bitter experience how that declaration can prejudice line managers against them from the outset, even if that prejudice is subconscious. Getting a job is therefore the biggest single step to successful rehabilitation.

“I left the prison that day (yes they released me!) fully convinced that we as a business should sign up and with the support of our Directors, I am very pleased that we are now in a position to make that formal and public commitment.

The facts 

“According to BITC, Banning the Box is the first step to reducing reoffending through employment and brings a number of business benefits. The campaign gives organisations access to a wider, more diverse talent pool – with 81 per cent of businesses saying that employing ex-offenders has helped their business.

“For employers, the end goal is of course to try to find the best person for the job, and with over 11 million people in the UK holding a criminal record, banning the box on convictions is one simple step towards this goal.

“Organisations that actively employ ex-offenders also say that they make reliable, hard-working employees, with one national high street brand revealing an 83 per cent retention rate for ex-offenders, which is much higher than for the rest of their workforce.

“At Landmarc, we also believe that everybody deserves equal opportunities and that having such a diverse workforce brings with it a wide range of different and unique skills that help us to deliver the best service we can for our customer. Banning the box from the first stage of our recruitment process will therefore give us access to this wider talent pool, which can produce a great outcome for individuals, businesses and our wider communities.”

To find out more about the Ban the Box campaign visit the BITC website