Employment of People with Criminal Convictions - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:08 pm on 26 February 2024.

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Photo of Lord Bellamy Lord Bellamy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 3:08, 26 February 2024

My Lords, as your Lordships know, under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 the Government have been progressively reducing the need to disclose previous convictions, particularly in relation to community sentences and sentences of under four years, and now even some non-violent sentences of over four years can be regarded as spent. As the noble Baroness has said, the ban the box campaign run by Business in the Community, which comprises more than 150 employers covering over 1 million roles, asks employers to delay the point at which applicants are asked to tick a box on and give details about any criminal convictions so that they can expose their skills at interview before any disclosure of convictions is made, if such disclosure is still required.

The Government are very pleased to commend the work of Business in the Community, which has now led the ban the box campaign for several years. In 2021 it passed the milestone of covering more than 1 million roles, and as long ago as 2016 the Government signed up to it for the Civil Service. The noble Baroness rightly identifies that this is a very important initiative. Increasing rates of employment on release from prison is very important, and the Government will continue to support the initiative.