Learning from other European countries

by / Friday, 12 September 2014 / Published in Abroad, Latest, News & Media, News on policy issues

We’re excited to report that Unlock’s Director of Services, Christopher Stacey, has been awarded a prestigious Travelling Fellowship for 2014, courtesy of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. He’ll be travelling to Spain, Sweden and France in October and November, to look at how these countries deal with criminal records, particularly in terms of recruitment and employment.
This news update has been put together to give Christopher the chance to explain what’s he’s planning to look at, what he hopes to achieve, and how people can get involved.

You can also follow Christopher on his travels by reading his blog posts at christopherstacey.wordpress.com, and he’ll be tweeting through @chrisstacey. There’s more background to this work on the Unlock website, and if you want to get in touch with him, you can email him at christopher.stacey@unlock.org.uk.

In Christopher’s words…

I’m delighted (and feel very fortunate) to be awarded a WCMT Travelling Fellowship. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how other countries deal with criminal records, and how we could take some of the good policy and practice from overseas and apply it here in the UK.

In recent years, the UK criminal records disclosure system has been subject to intense scrutiny. A series of piecemeal reforms in response to high-profile events has resulted in a confusing and complicated process which, in many ways, undermines rehabilitation policies and places additional obstacles in the way of people with convictions in moving on positively with their lives. Other countries have developed their systems in different ways, responding to different priorities, and the reason for this Fellowship is to try and learn from these different approaches.

The countries that I’ll be visiting are France, Spain and Sweden. Each of the countries have been identified because they demonstrate, in different ways, policies and practices that are progressive and forward-thinking. During October and November 2014, I’ll be travelling to these countries to learn more about how they go about using criminal records in recruitment.

My aim is to better understand the policy/processes that govern the use of criminal records in recruitment, but also, and more importantly, my aim is to get beneath the policy and understand the reality of how employers use criminal records, and how this helps or hinders people with convictions.

During my travels, I’ll be keeping a track of what I learn, and I’ll hopefully be writing some regular blog posts – these will be posted at christopherstacey.wordpress.com. I’ll also be tweeting through @chrisstacey.

On my return to the UK, I will be publishing a report for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which looks at the findings of my visits, what I have learned, and how some of this learning could be applied in the UK.

Interested? Get in touch

I’ve already got a range of people and organisations that I’m planning to visit during my travels. But, I’m keen to reach out to more people, both within the countries that I’m visiting, but also those that have experience and expertise on the issues that I’m looking at.

In particular, I’m keen to hear from organisations that work in the community with people who have criminal records, and also employers and agencies that ‘deal’ with criminal records in each of the countries that I’m visiting. I’m also interested to hear from those who have a good understanding of how criminal records are stored and disclosed in each of these countries, as well as people with criminal records themselves.

If you’re interested in meeting me during my travels, or just want to provide some comment/input into this work, please feel free to email me at christopher.stacey@unlock.org.uk. There’s more background to this work on the Unlock website,

 

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