According to the National Police Database, over 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record. This equates to more than 20% of the working age population. Government research has found that many former offenders find it almost impossible to get a job, with just 17% in P45 employment a year after release and more than half of employers saying they would not consider hiring someone with a criminal record. Unfortunately, this can lead to re-offending as part of a vicious circle - something which costs UK taxpayers an estimated £18 billion each year.
Tideway recognised that the scale of the project created an opportunity to tackle this issue and to show leadership within construction. Tideway set itself a target of employing one person with a conviction for every 100 employees in sustained employment ie for at least six months, embedding this within all three of its main works contracts.
Tideway and its supply chain partnered with charities such as Bounce Back and Key4Life to help recruit, and then support, those who joined the project through this route. Tideway signed up to the Ban the Box campaign in 2016 and removed any tick box from job application forms that asked about criminal convictions. In addition, Tideway staff helped to run workshops in prisons designed to grow the confidence of inmates, challenge perceptions around employment prospects post-release and teach skills needed to apply for jobs, such as interviewing and CV writing.
Tideway has also worked with and supported a number of government and business groups in this area, with membership of the Corbett Network; the Ministry Of Justice Business in The Community Group; and The Employers' Forum For Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR). We also supported the construction industry’s Mind The Gap initiative, which helps to develop employment pathways for people with convictions, hosting training for our partner organisations and supply chain.
Tideway and our MWCs continue to support this commitment through volunteering opportunities with various organisations and through our support for the Hardman Trust, which works with charities to provide skills and opportunities in construction to people with convictions, as part of the legacy fund mentioned above.
Tideway’s work in this area has also been externally recognised – by the EFFRR with its Award for Business working with Local Communities in 2018; by the Corbett Network with a highly commended in its 2019 awards that recognise high-quality rehabilitative opportunities for prisoners; and by Business In The Community in 2020 when it named Tideway as a Responsible Business Champion for Outstanding Employment.
More recently Tideway has worked with the Corbett Network to support three community projects which are helping people with convictions to get support when they leave prison, identify training opportunities and find and keep jobs, through a Tideway legacy Fund. You can read a case study on the fund below.
Tideway has also helped the charity Working Chance to produce and launch a comprehensive guide for employers on recruiting and supporting people with convictions, called Hiring With Conviction. You can read the guide here.
Tideway’s 2023 social impact report outlined the value to society of our work in this area – the project’s employment of a total of 37 people with convictions delivered a value to society of £2.3 million. You can read more about on page 15 of the report.