Christina Hall, director of operations at Lincolnshire Action Trust, reveals why they help (and hire) ex-offenders get back into the world of work – and why it’d benefit your SME.
Hi Christina! Can you explain what the Lincolnshire Action Trust is and does?
Sure. Lincolnshire Action Trust is a charity who work to provide and support the recruitment and training of ex-offenders, those at risk of offending, and their families by supporting the individuals, employers and training/education providers. In addition to this, we support these individuals in respect of accommodation, debt and finance, family support and access, health and mental health services.
What skills can ex-offenders bring to small businesses?
Ex-offenders are a cross section of the workforce, so have skills and experiences comparable with most people in general. There are key differences in retention and performance though, as there is evidence that ex-offenders employed by an employer (knowing they are an ex-offender) tend to be less likely to move employers and have a good record on performance.
Why is it important to help people to integrate back into society in this way?
Integration as a productive member of the community is a critical factor in the individual seeing themselves as a member of the community. It is proven that one of the most significant factors in reducing re-offending rates is meaningful employment.
Many small business owners may be worried that ex-offenders might re-offend while in employment with their business. Is this likely?
Working with ‘eyes open’ as an employer (i.e. not saying we do not employ people with criminal records is both naive and short sighted. Given the statistics, most employers unknowingly employ ex-offenders) business owners can work with organisations such as Lincolnshire Action Trust or Unlock to recruit safely and effectively not rule out unnecessarily a large group of population who could be an ideal employee. The Ministry of Justice has also released the following figures on re-offending rates:
|Length of custodial sentence||One year proven re-offending rate|
|P45 employment spell after release||No P45 employment spell after release|
|Less than 1 year||32%||69%|
|1 year or more||18%||43%|
Knowingly employing an individual with an offending history allows employer to address any risks. Most employers have no route to check criminal records therefore working in a transparent way with an ex-offender is less likely to have an issue. The statistics of males in the UK under 30 with a criminal conviction (other than motoring) is quoted between 1/3rd and 1/5th of the population.
Finally, what motivates you to work with this group of society?
Having worked for over 20 years seeing individuals move into work and becoming crime free, productive members of the community, it really inspires me to keep going and try to help even more.