Ex-Offender and Employment

Ten years ago I was given the chance of a job. I took it and still work for the same company today. I was grateful for that second chance but I knew my employer and he knew my background. He had to put risk assessments in place but I proved myself and worked hard.
I am now in a new relationship and plan to move in with my partner. This would mean me having to find a new job but my employer reassured me that he would write me a glowing reference. I have applied for 3 jobs and have had 2 interviews. The application form asked for any criminal records to be disclosed. I filled in the form with honesty and spoke about my past during the interviews. I figured it was best to be up front and the managers interviewing me were great and understanding.
Both interviews went very well but both managers said that they have to run my previous convictions by their head offices. Needless to say, I haven't heard word back. I made follow up phone calls and both managers said that they would offer me the jobs but the final decision was up to head office but head office didn't interview me so based on my previous conviction, they made a decision not to hire me. My previous was a drug conviction by the way and I have not re-offended since which was 12 years ago. 
I have 10 years working experience which is flawless and still my conviction holds me to ransom. How does this country expect to reduce re-offending when the employment field will not entertain people with convictions. If it wasn't for my friend/employer, God only knows what path I'd be on now. 
I am still struggling to move on and I have ten years active employment history! I just wanted to share my story. From an Ex-Offender