What does inclusive recruitment mean for Ingeus’ Justice services?

28 Sep 2023
As part of National Inclusion Week (25th September - 1st October 2023), we looked at the impact of inclusivity in the workforce. In her blog, Louise Milliken-Orr, part of Ingeus’ Commissioned Rehabilitative Services team, explores the importance of inclusive recruitment.

In my experience inclusive recruitment is particularly important for people with lived experience within the justice system, who have faced many hurdles to get to the stage of successful rehabilitation.

Working with people with a previous conviction everyday opens me up to seeing the difficulties they often face. People who are highly skilled, highly motivated and have the right attitude who would be an asset to any company if given the chance to be heard. 

It’s important to support people with a past to have a better future, offer hope and a second chance. A part of this should involve allowing people with a conviction the chance disclose their conviction, discuss their story, be listened to, and not judged in an interview. What is needed is the opportunity to be heard and the opportunity to grow within that opportunity, and most importantly be treated like everyone else.

Inclusive recruitment opens opportunities for everyone, and individuals benefit from not being categorised or typecast. Whilst there may be scenarios whereby certain restrictions are needed, jobs should be reviewed on an individual basis. 
Tackling barriers to support offenders move into employment

I listen to companies everyday saying they are inclusive, and they want to support people, yet we still need more companies removing the box asking about convictions before they shortlist in the recruitment stage.
Our teams work with employers to ensure they are equipped with the realistic benefits and information needed to confidently make the decision to be inclusive.

Supporting people into work, who have been through the criminal justice system, is not an easy task. Employers will often steer clear of anyone, who is known to have an offence, and take other easy options available to them. The fact is though, that the employers we work with who do recruit ex-offenders give exceptional feedback of the outstanding help from Ingeus and the high-quality candidates that are put forward and go on into employment. Our approach is one of common sense, practicality and education on the many benefits of employing people with unspent convictions and on a licence. 

Dara McCarthy, Social Inclusion Manager at RMF Group highlights the value of inclusive recruitment and says:
“We wholly believe in inclusive recruitment and its ability of attracting quality employees from a diverse pool of candidates in a fair and unbiased manner. It champions diversity, equality, and inclusion within the workforce and ensures our company can benefit from gained experience and knowledge from varying backgrounds and cultures which ultimately improves our business.”  

The inclusive recruitment process
We often use pilot schemes with an employer, with the intention of showing the possibilities of inclusive recruitment and allowing them to see the benefits first hand.

We discuss the methods of recruitment and prepare and implement employment engagement support. We help people are well trained at identifying talent beyond a CV. A CV is just one part of the recruitment process and there are more ways to identify whether someone is suitable for a role. The application and interview are often complemented or replaced with a ‘walk and talk’ session with a few candidates at a time. 

This is beneficial for the employer as it saves time for them, and beneficial for the candidates who will experience a less stressful and intense interview. Feedback tells us that the employer gets to know the candidates much better this way, resulting in better outcomes.

This approach to inclusivity continues as we provide ongoing support to the employer to help them define and develop their policies and procedures to keep providing opportunities for a diverse and talented workforce. 

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