Offploy | What can businesses learn from M&S’ ex-offender hiring?
We manage the entire ex-offender employment process, from start to finish, enabling you to safely, fairly and confidently recruit and retain disadvantaged yet eager candidates with criminal convictions.
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What can businesses learn from M&S’ ex-offender hiring?

Regular followers of Offploy will know that we often cite Virgin’s ex-offender employment efforts. Sir Richard Branson has been incredibly vocal about his commitment to giving people second chances – in fact, Offploy’s founder Jacob Hill has his own blog on the Virgin website and has received personal praise from Richard himself.

But Virgin isn’t the only company to get behind the rehabilitation revolution. M&S is also renowned for its programme to help disadvantaged people into work – Marks & Start.

Founded in 2004, this initiative had supported 10,000 people by its 10 year milestone – what an amazing feat.

Designed to maximise individuals’ employability prospects, M&S statistics show that 90% have reported an increase in confidence, and around 40% have stayed in a permanent M&S role. It seems to have been a good thing for existing employees too. According to the charity Working Chance, ‘Marks & Spencer report that hiring ex-offenders has increased morale and motivation among staff, who say they are proud to work for an organisation offering ex-offenders a second chance to get back on track.’

It costs £65,000 to imprison a person in this country once police, court costs and all the other steps are taken into account. After that it costs a further £40,000 for each year they spend incarcerated.

– Focus Prisoner Education

It’s definitely an inspiring story, and one that businesses of all shapes and sizes can learn from. Of course M&S has been able to offer opportunities on a large scale, but if an organisation can change just one ex-offender’s life, that’s got to be worth it – even if the opportunity is provided on a part-time basis. It’s the chance to integrate back into society, build feelings of self-worth, enhance a CV, learn new skills and earn an honest living. It’s the potential to break the costly cycle of re-offending.

If we look at the Focus Prisoner Education website, we find startling figures that read: ‘It costs £65,000 to imprison a person in this country once police, court costs and all the other steps are taken into account. After that it costs a further £40,000 for each year they spend incarcerated.’ So, offering a £15,000 employment opportunity to an ex-offender who wants to turn their life around won’t just change their life, it will start to improve that of the taxpayer too.

So where do you go from here? The Job Centre offers a fantastic Work Programme to get ex-offenders back into employment, so it’s definitely worth exploring that avenue.

Alternatively, if you want to devise a comprehensive ex-offender employment strategy for your business, we can help. We offer a range of services to support you through what is a potential HR, legal and ethical minefield, to ensure you only encounter opportunities, not obstacles.

Contact us to find out more.

Sources:
http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/blog/stories/10-years-of-marks-and-start
http://www.workingchance.org/Employers/Mythbusters/tabid/1174/Default.aspx
http://www.fpe.org.uk/the-cost-of-prisons/

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