Published: Friday, 29th September 2017
A network which aims to provide employers with information on the potential benefits of employing people with convictions has been launched in the Borders.
The Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership - which includes ourselves, NHS Borders, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland among other organisations - has teamed up with not-for-profit company Recruit with Conviction to create the network.
How will this help people with convictions and reduce re-offending?
- Under the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016, each local authority area is required to produce a Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan aimed at reducing re-offending. It is believed the Borders network is one of the first to be created within a local authority area under the new Act.
- Over the next 12 months, Recruit with Conviction will aim to build safe and sustainable relationships between employers and employees through a series of events to highlight the programme to local businesses, including an employer surgery, workshops and individual support.
- Advice will be offered on topics such as myths around employing people with convictions, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, how to conduct an interview and how to assess barriers in the recruitment process.
Councillor Mark Rowley, Chairman of the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership, which approved the Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan
“While crime in the Scottish Borders is relatively low in comparison to other parts of Scotland, we have an opportunity to work within and across organisational boundaries to positively influence the behaviour of individuals within our communities who have an offending history.
“Importantly, reducing instances of offending behaviour will also result in fewer victims of crime.
“The Community Justice Outcomes Improvement Plan shows that one of the areas that can have a positive impact upon future offending is employment.
“This extends to improved self-esteem, financial independence, contributing to wider sociality through tax, and a meaningful use of time.
“I hope this programme with Recruit with Conviction will also help overcome some of the stigma and pre-conception associated with having a conviction.”
Our Equalities Champion, Councillor John Greenwell
“I am delighted that this new Employability Network has been launched.
“We do not condone crime but at the same time people deserve a second chance and by providing employment opportunities it means people with convictions can be rehabilitated back into society.
“It is understandable that some local businesses and organisations may have reservations around employing someone with a conviction. However, this programme aims to help debunk some myths about working with people with convictions, as well as highlighting the potential benefits on offer.”
Dughall Laing of Recruit with Conviction
“One in three men and one in ten women in Scotland have a criminal record. The development network concept is designed to support the creation of locally based solutions to the employment of people with convictions for the Borders.
“When it comes to employment, the correct processes can seem daunting and complicated, with many applicants not knowing what is the correct information to provide and employers simply prefer to avoid asking any questions or remove anyone with a conviction from the pool of candidates.
“This means the right candidate for the job – who could be someone with a minor conviction - can be missed and applicants are not able to move on and contribute their worth.
“We are pleased to be supporting the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership with their lead commitment to the delivery of this network and support for employers and jobseekers.”
Images from the launch are available at our Flickr page.