Keep up-to-date with drugs and crime

The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems
What is the New Futures Network?
The New Futures Network (NFN) is a specialist part of the prison service that brokers partnerships between prisons and employers.

Share This Post

See what's on the inside

Last week (15 October 2020) the New Futures Network on behalf of HMPPS published its guide to business on employing prisoners and ex-offenders. The New Futures Network (NFN) is a specialist part of the prison service that brokers partnerships between prisons and employers. NFN will help organisations to identify the best option for them and put them in touch with similar businesses out of the 400+ which are already working with the prison service.

The guide highlights three distinct ways for businesses to get involved:

Opportunities for serving prisoners
Employers can set up training and production facilities in a dedicated space within the prison estate. Workshops run by external organisations benefit from a dedicated workforce made up of serving prisoners. NFN will work with you to find out what will suit your business needs. This also helps prisoners gain valuable skills and qualifications which will increase their likelihood of securing employment after release.

Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL)
Release on Temporary Licence, or ROTL, is a scheme which allows risk-assessed prisoners who are within two years of release to work while on day release from prison. This can be for a full working week or part-time. It allows you to offer training and work experience to a serving prisoner while you assess if they are right for your business, before possibly offering them a job on their release.

Employment on release
Upon release, individuals can work and have full employee rights. The New Futures Network can help you arrange interviews with prospective candidates before they are released, so you can choose the best person for your business.

The guide sets out five key reasons for businesses to recruit people with criminal convictions, set out in a graphic which I have reproduced below.

Inclusive recruitment and onboarding

The guide concludes with a series of tips for inclusive recruitment and onboarding and provides details on how recruitment practices can, sometimes inadvertently, exclude people with criminal convictions from employment opportunities. 

The advice includes recommending that businesses review their recruitment policies and practices to open up opportunities with a promise that NFN can offer support and information on this process.

NFN also advises that businesses consider what documentation will be required by the HR department before appointment; noting that some forms of ID, such as proof of address, may be very difficult for prisoners to obtain.

NFN also encourages businesses to adopt Ban the Box, a Business in the Community campaign that calls on UK employers to give ex-offenders a fair chance to compete for jobs. Companies that sign up commit to removing any tick box from job application forms that asks about criminal convictions and, if necessary, moving this question to later in the recruitment process so they fairly consider applicants’ skills, experience and ability to do the job.


For people who are interested, I have built a resource page on the blog which provides a list of many of the largest organisations with expertise in helping people with criminal convictions find jobs.

Share This Post

Related posts

The Good Jobs Project

The Good Jobs Project aims to fill job shortages with marginalised talent, including people with criminal convictions.

On Probation
The end of probation?

Will the merger of the prison and probation services lead to the loss of probation identity?

One Response

  1. I think that its ridiculous that there are so many sites that advise ex offenders on who to reach out to for support but no one has thought to create a job searching platform for ex offenders to search for work. Not all ex offenders need reintegrating or need to learn new skills or to be spoon fed in to getting a job, some ex offenders just need a list of jobs they can apply for with companies who do not discriminate against their convictions. Alot of the provisions out there for ex offenders seem like more of a tick box exercise rather than offering a service that actually helps. there are too many providers out there to support them but no jobs?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Probation posts sponsored by Unilink


Excellence through innovation

Unilink, Europe’s provider of Offender/Probation Management Software

Privacy Preference Center


Get every blog post by email for free