Housing association is first to ‘Ban the Box’

TRAFFORD Housing Trust has become the first housing association in the UK to remove the criminal record disclosure box from its job application forms in support of Business in the Community’s (BITC) Ban the Box campaign.
Around 10 million people in the UK have criminal records, yet research suggests that three-quarters of employers admit to using a prior conviction to discriminate against an applicant, meaning that qualified job seekers can be unfairly blocked from employment.
This means the best person for the job might be denied the opportunity to even have an interview, their application being automatically rejected because they have a criminal record.

Ban the Box aims to address the discrimination faced by job-seeking ex-offenders by calling on employers to ask the right questions about criminal records at an appropriate stage of the recruitment process.
The Trust is now joining other organisations, such as Barclays and Boots, which make the first stage of recruitment decisions based solely on appropriate experience, qualifications and ability to do the job, and do not simply ignore a candidate’s application because of a previous criminal offence.
All short-listed candidates will then be asked to disclose information about any criminal record as this may impact on their suitability for the position, especially if it is a highly sensitive or legally regulated role such as a teacher or care worker.

Trafford Housing Trust chief executive Matthew Gardiner said: “Wet manage 9,000 homes in Trafford but we are far more than just a landlord. We work within a range of sectors, across a wide range of projects, and we take a fair and inclusive approach to everything we do.
“We have already proved through our CleanStart programme that employing ex-offenders reduces re-offending rates and cost to the courts and prison services.
“By supporting Ban the Box, The Trust is delivering on its commitment to make the world a more just place in which everyone’s contribution is valued.
“People will have a fair chance to get to an interview based on their competency for a vacancy, rather than being excluded automatically because of a conviction unrelated to their ability to perform the role in question.
“I’m therefore proud that we are the first housing association in the country to adopt the principles of the Ban the Box initiative, and I’m confident that many others within our sector will follow our example.”

Campaign manager at Business in the Community Faye Goldman said: “We are delighted that Trafford Housing Trust has become the first housing association to publically commit to ban the box.

“They represent a sector with a strong social purpose, so it’s great to see them reflecting their values in the way they recruit, and leading the way for other like-minded organisations.

“Trafford Housing Trust are setting an example both in terms of support to their local community and their commitment to responsible business practice.”
The adoption of Ban the Box follows the ongoing success of the Trust’s CleanStart initiative.

Set up in 2008, it employs ex-offenders from within the local community to carry out various work on Trust properties with a view to them moving into permanent employment, or further training, following an initial six month placement.

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