Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

As the justice secretary plans to effectively ‘wipe [the] slate clean’ for ex-offenders, employers may start to wonder who exactly they are employing.

The justice secretary’s plans, as reported recently in a leading national newspaper, could have considerable ramifications for employers if they come to fruition. The idea in motion at the moment is to have a time frame for ‘spent convictions’ in a reform to the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. The plans change short convictions, such as less than six months, to a spent conviction status after two years rather than the 1974 act seven years. For employers, this means the prospective employee need not declare said conviction all the quicker.

Concerns in comments raised in response to the news on the tabloid’s website included one visitor making reference to the case of a shoplifter who stole bread. The tale was accompanied by a question of whether a leading UK high street grocery supermarket would subsequently employ that offender. Food for thought perhaps, if you excuse the pun!

A change in legislation of this kind could impact further in the future and causes confusion on where an employer who would require a CRB check would stand. Could serious crimes become ‘spent convictions’ one day? Could therefore a convicted paedophile who has spent said conviction potentially regain the right to work in a nursery? Could someone convicted under terrorism laws potentially regain the right to work at an airport? What could the consequences be if they do eventually then reoffend? The article quotes the justice secretary and offers some protection in saying that ‘serious crimes’ will always need to be disclosed. However if the 1974 act is changing, so potentially are the proverbial ‘goal posts’ which define serious crimes.

That aspect aside, the shoplifting comment one article reader made online is an example of a crime not seen as serious potentially in light of other crimes, but still not ideal for an employer placing said ex-offender in a shop environment. The idea of the act reform is to assist the rehabilitation of ex-offenders into society. However the impact could be that placing, say a shoplifter to work in a shop, would achieve the exact opposite. It could force the ex-offender to see the scene of their crime on a daily basis and surely heighten the temptation to reoffend. Not exactly ideal for the employer or indeed new employee.

One aspect of this debate is agreed by all who comment on the article. Jobs are in short supply, so employers are very picky over who they choose for a role and as such want to be in full possession of the facts. Safe Screening can help your business be in full possession of the facts regarding your job applicants. To find out more, visit

Do you know who is working for you?

Do you know who is working for you?

Recent statistics released by the UK government, show that in 2011 around 200 illegal immigrants were found working in Devon and Cornwall areas of the UK alone. Fines for this area and period exceeded £434k, however some of these fines were collections based on raids the year before.

A civil penalty system has been in place for employers since 2008 by the UK Border Agency. This allowed the agency to place fines, previously capped at £5,000 per instance of employing an illegal worker on the employer. With the cap now raised to £10,000 per worker the amounts that any offending employer could pay could be quite substantial. Once the penalty is in place, employers don’t have long to settle the bill either. They must pay in full within 28 days or ask permission to pay in monthly instalments, permission which may not be granted.

A download from the UK Border Agency website naming and shaming employers in London and surrounding, shows a breakdown of fines by organisation for 2010. Within this can be seen fines as low as £2.5k for one company, rising to £45k for another particular company. Depending on the turnover and profit of an organisation a fine of these sizes in the very worst case scenario, could put a company out of business.  In the best case scenario where the company can afford to carry the fine, it will inhibit reinvestment and growth and significantly affect bottom line and thus profits.

Do you really know who is working for you? If you look out on your business and count heads of those members of staff who have a background you’re unsure of, try taking that figure and times it by £10,000 fine a time. Then look at something like for the safety of your business.

Even chief executives need vetting

Even chief executives need vetting

It was recently reported that the CEO of a household name internet search engine may have lied on his CV.

Accused of fabricating a degree by a colleague, the CEO in question stepped down siting ‘personal matters’ rather than acknowledging the scandalous discovery surrounding him at the time in the press. It was later reported he may have health issues. His colleague had originally reportedly discovered that the academic institution quoted on the CEO’s CV as awarding the CEO a degree qualification, only began teaching the subject quoted four years after said CEO supposedly graduated.

Whether he lied or not has yet to be proved and may never be known. However, the scandal itself surrounding the accusation has caused the company to be thrown into making a series of changes right at the top of the organisation. This could only cause confusion to those lower in the organisational tree. The scandal too and associated bad press has no doubt impacted upon the brand value of this household name.

It shows no matter what the position you’re recruiting for, pre-employment background checks are the key to avoiding any nasty surprises later in employment, or any associated internal confusion and external bad press. Luckily, cloud software can help quickly and easily conduct background checks on candidates. To find out more, visit

Safe Computing on Twitter
Monthly Archives