Bristol first authority to become ‘Ban the Box’ employer

Aiming to remove barriers to employment for those with criminal convictions, Bristol City Council has announced that it has become the first local authority in the UK to become a ‘Ban the Box’ employer.

‘Ban the Box’ requires that employers use job applications that exclude a tick box that asks applicants about their criminal record, meaning anyone with an unspent conviction will not be asked about their past at the beginning of the recruitment process. This will apply to all of the authority’s job applications for roles that don’t require a DBS check, which is put in place for roles working with children or vulnerable groups of people.

The international campaign originated in the USA and encourages employers to evaluate the skills, abilities and persona of all candidates equally before asking about criminal convictions. In the UK, Ban the Box is led by Business in the Community, the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, who have been working with the council to help it become a ‘Ban the Box’ employer.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Everyone applying for a job at the council should be given the same encouragement and opportunity irrespective of their background. Bristol is a place where the opportunities to share in the city’s success are not evenly distributed and barriers exist that prevent some from fulfilling their potential. Our aim is to remove one of those barriers and send a message that we’re interested in getting to know the person applying for the job first and begin our conversation there.”