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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber endorses employment of ex-offenders

Reacting to suggestions today that companies should be encouraged to employ ex-offenders, Lucy Robinson, Director of Resources and responsible for HR at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “It is important for society that those most remote from the workplace should be given all the help and encouragement possible to return to employment.


“Various Governments have looked at this issue and there have been a number of reports concluding that re-offending is reduced when prisoners find work or re-enter the system immediately after release.


“Jobcentre staff, for example, are now encouraged to process prisoners’ applications before they leave prison so that they don’t suffer a period without income when first released when the risk of re-offending is highest.


“A few years ago it was suggested that employers could be given financial incentives, such an employer’s National Insurance holiday, to encourage recruitment of ex-offenders. This is something the Chamber would support and we would urge Government to make this happen.


“Employing ex-offenders could also help reduce the skills shortage our members report to us in every Quarterly Economic Survey we carry out as offenders could be trained while in prison to have the skills on their release that employers need but struggle to find.


“It has been estimated that recruiting staff can cost about £2,000 per vacancy so if there is a ready-made and qualified supply of recruits available at a significantly reduced cost then that should also encourage firms to consider taking on ex-offenders.”