“Whenever we have had the sort of opportunities that we would go to an agency to fill, where we’re looking for certain skills, we come to Working Chance.”
— Katy Savage, Head of Partnerships and Operations, Revolving Doors
Katy Savage is the Director of Partnerships and Operations at Revolving Doors, the national charity working to break the cycle of crisis and crime. They combine research, policy expertise and lived experience to create innovative solutions to the ‘revolving door’. The revolving door is characterised by repeat, low-level crime driven by unmet health and social needs, such as poverty, mental-ill health, problems with drugs and alcohol or domestic abuse.
The nature of their work means that hiring people with convictions is a no-brainer; as Katy says, “It brings a really diverse mix of staff and ensures that we walk the walk.”
Katy understands that some employers may have reservations when it comes to hiring people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system, but Revolving Doors’ lived experience membership is proof that people can turn their lives around and deserve the chance to do that. She believes that as long as you start from a position of honesty, then you can build strong working relationships based on trust.
For many women, the prospect of a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check holds them back from applying for jobs. The DBS is a background check that will show up any criminal record. For some roles, a DBS check is a legal requirement, but the majority of jobs require no DBS check at all. Nor is a DBS check something that can be passed or failed. If something does come back on a DBS check it’s still possible to hire the individual as long as the employer carries out a risk assessment.
“If you know that you’re starting from a position of honesty you can build on that and build trust.”
“In terms of hiring, the thing we say is: yes, do all the risk assessments, absolutely do a DBS, but expect that DBS to come back with a whole lot of stuff on it. A clean DBS isn’t the thing that you’re looking for.
“If people are saying: well, my convictions were all five years ago. Look at the volunteering I’ve done since, and look at the short-term opportunities I’ve done since. Look at everything that’s happened. Then you know that you’re starting from a position of honesty and you can build on that and build trust.”
Katy explains that Revolving Doors have had such a positive experience with Working Chance that they’d love to do more.
“Whenever we have roles that are suitable, we will always come to Working Chance."
“Every time we’ve come to Working Chance it’s been a very positive experience."
“We had a very successful office manager hire through Working Chance, she was absolutely fantastic. She held our organisation together, she was at the centre of everything, she overhauled our processes and she brought a level of rigour. She was just a fabulous person who deserved to have a job that she valued and to be part of a team that she enjoyed being a part of and to live a good life.
“There’s a talented pool of women out there who should be able to live full and complete lives which includes working. It’s ridiculous not to be drawing on that pool of women who have one specific experience, but they also have a whole lifetime of other experience to draw on and that they bring and certainly that’s been the case with the women we’ve hired through Working Chance.”