Today marks a milestone for the UK’s Ban the Box campaign, through which Boots UK and over 150 other companies have opened up one million jobs to people with criminal convictions.
Launched in 2013 by responsible business charity Business in the Community, the Ban the Box campaign asks employers to remove the criminal offenses tick box from the first stage of applications; a ticked box often means an automatic rejection, regardless of the offence or the job. Banning the box means that the 11.7 million people in the UK with a criminal record have a fair chance of employment.
It also makes our society safer and wealthier. Employment can drastically reduce the likelihood of re-offending; employment programmes have been shown to reduce re-offending rates of participants to less than 5 per cent from a national average of 67% (Recycling Lives, 2020). Right now, re-offending costs businesses, taxpayers, and communities £18.1 billion a year (Ministry of Justice 2019), but 35% of Ban the Box employers believe the campaign has solved skills shortages in their businesses (BITC, 2021).
Marco Pagni, Executive Vice President, Global Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Walgreens Boots Alliance, one of the campaign’s longest standing supporters and speaking at today’s celebration event comment: “We are proud that Boots was one of the first businesses to become a Ban the Box employer in 2013. The turning point for us came when I hosted a Seeing is Believing visit at a prison, meeting individuals that I could see would make brilliant employees. That something as simple as a tick box could prevent our business from accessing talented applicants was concerning, and so we took the necessary steps to remove this barrier.
“In the years since, Boots has continued to champion the campaign and broadened our work with prisons and prison-leavers. We are delighted that we are now just one of more than 150 employers signed up to the campaign and we urge all UK employers to join us.”
Boots UK is recognised as Responsible Business of the Year 2019-2020 by Business in the Community.
To find out more about Ban the Box, click here.