Why it’s important to Ban the Box

Interserve signed up to Ban the Box in 2014 and has been doing a lot of work to encourage its supply chain to sign up as well. Ban the Box is a Business in the Community campaign calling on UK employers to create a fair opportunity for ex-offenders to compete for jobs by removing the tick box from application forms and asking about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process.

Why Interserve banned the box

For me, and the team at Interserve, being a responsible business is a huge priority. This means showing respect and concern for the communities we operate within. This includes recognising and supporting diversity, which features strongly in what we do. For some people diversity within business means recruiting people with a disability or people from different ethnic groups, for others it’s about treating all people within the community with respect. By banning the box we are removing a hurdle for people with a conviction who are looking to move on with their lives and giving all applicants the respect to judge them first and foremost on their skills and suitability for a role. Finding suitable employment significantly reduces the chance of reoffending, so there are benefits for the community as well as the individual.

Encouraging our supply chain

We contacted our top suppliers over a six month period to encourage them to sign up to Ban the Box. So far four companies have joined, four have made a commitment to sign up, and a further 20 are considering it. This is a great start and we can really see the difference it makes to those that will be affected by the change. We are working with our other suppliers to encourage them to sign up as well.

What else can be done?

At Interserve we’re always looking at ways to grow and develop our sustainability plans.

  •  We have a publically stated set of goals set out in our own SustainAbilities plan currently in place until 2020 and this helps keep sustainabilities as a key part of the agenda during the procurement process, rather than a second thought.
  • We’re also drafting a Modern Slavery statement and have created a checklist which we will be using to assess what we are already doing and what we need to put in place worldwide.
  •  We also work with the Supply Chain Sustainabilty School, a cross-industry body dedicated to developing sustainability competence in the supply chain. Through the school we’re working to develop a common approach to the Modern Slavery Act across the construction and facilities management industries.

Businesses across the facilities management industry have come a long way when it comes to sustainability and diversity, but there is much more for us all to do.

I was interviewed as part of Responsible Business Week – you can read the full interview here.

Since the interview the Government has also announced support for Ban the Box.

Dan Firth

Dan Firth is the Sustainable Procurement Manager for Interserve Support Services and facilitates the cross-divisional Sustainable Procurement Working Group. He has wide experience of implementing sustainable procurement in both the public and private sectors, and running a social enterprise.