A Fairer Chance, is an award winning, Community Interest Company established in 2011. We work with employers, people with convictions and those at risk of offending to remove barriers to jobs and reduce crime and its impact on communities. We do this by making the business case for recruiting with convictions. We help employers recruit from a pool of talent they would not usually have access to whilst supporting individuals to use their skills and aspirations to find employment and reach financial freedom. We provide a range of trauma informed, tailor made, interventions with the end goal of gaining sustainable employment.
A Fairer Chance grew out of a pilot our CEO, Maggie Walsh MBE, was involved in back in 2005. Then Manager in the Department Of Work and Pensions (DWP) Maggie was seconded to Ministry Of Justice to look at commercial benefits of recruiting people with convictions.
After a successful national pilot demonstrated its success, the DWP did not see itself as having a further role in the work. Rather than return to her Jobcentre management role, Maggie left a 30 year career and founded A Fairer Chance in September 2011.
We could see that too many people with unspent convictions were struggling. They were not being given a chance and couldn’t find sustainable employment. They had transferable skills and training from being in custody and the community, but these were not being recognised. All this meant that there was a higher chance they would reoffend.
What we believe
We believe that people deserve a fairer chance when it comes to employment. People should not be defined by something that may have happened on the very worst day of their life. Having helped and supported thousands of people wanting to work, we know the depth of skills and talents that jobseekers bring to their employers.
As of January 2023, more than 12 million people have a criminal record in the UK which is roughly 27% of the working population. With massive skill shortages and every sector struggling with recruitment, should we really be writing off another quarter of the working population?
It costs over £48,000 to keep a person in custody for a year. The only way we get payback to the public purse is when people coming out of prison secure a job and start paying tax and National Insurance.
To ensure there is a fair and diverse workforce that represents the local community and does not exclude those with a conviction.
To support people to use their skills and aspirations to find employment and reach financial freedom.
To make sure our employers feel supported to develop their ways of accessing talented employees who have been in contact with the criminal justice system.
To make the business case for recruiting with convictions.
Fair: We do not ask employers to lower their expectations, just that no extra barriers are put in the way.
Non-judgmental: We believe People should not be defined by something that may have happened on the very worst day of their life.
Supportive: Making sure our beneficiaries feel supported, encouraged and championed is key to our success.
Ambitious: We do not look for ‘offender jobs’ for our clients, we look at their skills, knowledge,experience and ambitions to find the right job for them.
Knowledgeable: Our expertise is not just in understanding the criminal justice system, we are also experts in employment. We understand the labour market, areas of skills and labour shortages and what employers actually look for.
Employers skill gaps
We knew that employers had skill gaps within their industries and didn’t know how to fill them. They weren’t looking at this group of people to fill these gaps because they didn’t know how to recruit somebody with an unspent conviction how to ask the right questions around unspent convictions and what they could do to manage any risks for their business. A Fairer Chance knew we would be the right people to bridge this work. because we have an expertise in employment for jobseekers who bring so much more than their criminal record.
We found there was a real appetite for this work and key national employers both encouraged and financially supported the creation of A Fairer Chance.
Where we are really different in this space is that we are experts in employment whose jobseekers happen to have a criminal record. Since A Fairer Chance was founded, we’ve continued using our extensive knowledge of our employer partners and the local labour market to support skills and training in custody and the wider community which meets the needs of employers and people with convictions looking for work. to meet the needs of employers.
A Fairer Chance has supported employers to recruit more than 2000 people into work, from entry-level jobs to skilled and graduate-level roles.
Our work has been recognised by the Government as well as leading Justice Charities. Our CEO was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to offender recruitment and Our Operations Director, Rosie Skinner-Matey, was shortlisted as ‘Women Of Influence’ at the Mayor’s Awards. AFC has been recognised and received awards from the Violence Prevention board in acknowledgement of the work we do with young men and from The Robin Corbett Network for our Prisoner Re-integration.
Violent crime prevention Board - special performance award 2020
Robin Corbett Network- Prisoner Re-integration 2019
Mayors fund for London awards, Women of Influence finalist, 2016 –
Mayors Fund For London – Winner– Provider of the Year 2015
Maggie Walsh MBE at A Fairer Chance,
MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire)
Services to offender employment 2014
Department of Work and Pensions – Excellence and Diversity - 2011