Since about 10 years ago, I have been employed full time by a nationally recognized registered Charity, as a Specialist Debt Caseworker. About a year before I started, I was released from prison on license after serving 22 years of a life sentence for murder. I remain on license of course and my conviction will never be spent.

My role as a Debt Caseworker is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is a legal requirement of my employer and it is their responsibility to ensure that those they employ meet the required professional standards to fulfill their role which serves the best interests of our clients. My role includes working with vulnerable people, occasionally visiting people in their homes and taking responsibility on occasion for cash sums held in trust on behalf of clients to pay for their fees connects to particular insolvency procedures such as bankruptcy. It also involves liaising with partner agencies, particularly representatives of the Local Authority and negotiating with creditors regarding my clients’ finances.

My role also entails me representing clients in the County Court before District Judges, arguing before the Court why it should consider suspending Possession action on client’s property or suspending the execution of a Warrant of eviction due to mortgage or rent arrears.

My employer is fully aware of my background as I was required to disclose it at interview. I have been assured since that I was offered the role on merit, having been able to demonstrate to the interview panel a history of volunteering during the latter stages of my imprisonment and the first year of my freedom, as well as being able to persuade the panel that my years in prison had given me the time to reflect on my life, the course it had taken and the steps I’d taken to turn my life around.

As part of the recruitment process a CRB was requested which was sent centrally to the charity for whom I work. It revealed not just the murder but also a history of petty offending throughout my adolescence. The charity centrally sought assurances from my specific employer that I had disclosed but the final decision to employ me was left at the discretion of my employer.

By Philip* (name & details changed to protect identity)

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