Unlock issues call for evidence on ‘Ban the Box’ campaign

Written by Unlock

What is ban the box?

Far too often we hear from people who are unable to get past the application part of a recruitment process simply because they have to tick ‘yes’ to the question about convictions.

Ban the Box is a campaign to increase opportunities for people with convictions to compete for jobs. We’re promoting the campaign as part of our fair access to employment project and to encourage ‘fair chance recruitment’ practices by employers in the UK.

Banning the box is one element of fair chance recruitment. The concept originates from the United States where ‘Ban the Box’ has been at the heart of changes in employer recruitment practice, supported by All of Us or None and the National Employment Law Project.

The campaign was launched in the UK in 2013, co-founded by Business in the Community, Unlock and others.

What’s your experience of ban the box?

As part of our policy and campaign work we’re gathering evidence on how ban the box works in practice.

  • Did it encourage you to apply for a job you might not have otherwise?
  • Did you feel you were treated fairly?
  • Or maybe the employer claimed to support ban the box but had a blanket ban on unspent convictions?
  • Maybe it made no difference at all.

Whatever your experience, we want to hear about it.

What we need from you

If you have experience of applying to a ‘ban the box’ employer, contact us at policy@unlock.org.uk using the subject header ‘Call for evidence: ban the box’. Please include:

  • Your name
  • Contact details (email and telephone) and how you’d like us to contact you
  • Details of your experience (please include the name of the employer and of any staff you spoke to, include emails/screenshots etc if possible)
  • What you think should change
  • Whether you would be willing to take part in media coverage on this issue (this is for our reference, we won’t share your details with others).

Any information you provide will be kept in line with our confidentiality policy. Any personal information provided to us will not be shared externally without your consent.

Find out more about how we handle your data.

Which employers have banned the box?

More than 130 employers have now banned the box – see the full list here.

What’s our approach to recruitment?

Find out more about Unlock’s approach to recruitment here.

Why should employers ban the box?

For employers, the goal has to be to try and find the best person for the job, and with over 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record, banning the box about convictions is one simple step towards this goal. By banning the box, employers are able to consider candidates on merit first. Behind the scenes, we work with employers to help them put the principles of this campaign into practice in their company, using our knowledge and experience of working with both individuals who have convictions as well as employers who are actively looking to improve their recruitment policies and practices.

Banning the box means employers can consider candidates on merit first. Applicants are not put off applying and employers get to recruit from the widest pool of talent.

If you’re an employer looking for more information please see Recruit! our website for employers.