What we doUnlock is an independent award-winning national charity that provides a voice and support for people with convictions who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record, often long after they have served their sentence.
Firstly, we help people to move on positively with their lives by empowering them with information, advice and support to overcome the stigma of their previous convictions.
Secondly, we seek to promote a fairer and more inclusive society by challenging discriminatory practices and promoting socially just alternatives.
What does this mean in practice?
Worried about your criminal record? We provide advice & support.
Please help usThere are over 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record.
Unlock helps people overcome past difficulties and move forward with hope to make a positive contribution to society.
There are a number of ways to support us. HELP US NOW! Thank you
News: Criminal recordsVIEW ALL -
Help us to wipe DBS checks clean of old and minor criminal records – We need your help to challenge the government in the Supreme CourtWe’ve launched a CrowdJustice appeal to help us raise money to pay for our legal costs in...
- We have recently undertaken an important legal effort to intervene in a Supreme Court case whic...
- Commenting on today’s news that the Recruitment & Employment Confederation has become a Ban...
- The latest blog by Christopher Stacey (published on the Huffington Post) questions the use of e...
Latest @ UnlockVIEW ALL -
- Today we’ve published our summer 18 newsletter. The newsletter provides an update of the ...
Blog – Standing up to the government in the Supreme Court – Some reflections on last month’s landmark criminal record disclosure hearingThe latest blog by Christopher Stacey reflects on last month’s landmark criminal record disclos...
- Commenting on today’s news of changes to the childcare disqualification arrangements, Christoph...
- We’ve just published our update for June 2018. ...
Latest news about criminal recordsCatch up on the latest news, articles and media about criminal records by reading our latest posts to Scoop.it!
Find out more about our training courses
Criminal record disclosure training for practitionersWe deliver 'criminal record disclosure' training as open courses and in-house sessions to help front-line practitioners provide accurate, effective advice. Dates now available for 2018
See how you can help us in our policy and campaign work
Help us with our policy and campaign workWe're looking for evidence to support key policy issues we're working on, including employers that carry out ineligible checks, and the 'google effect'. There are other ways to help too, including writing to your MP and donating to us.
Visit the information siteThe country's most comprehensive source of practical self-help information for people with convictions on a wide range of issues that criminal convictions can affect
Visit the disclosure calculatorAn online tool that works out when your convictions are spent and so don't need to be disclosed to most employers and insurers
Visit the online magazineThe online magazine for law-abiding people with convictions - share news, views and personal stories about life with a conviction
Find out more about our helplineWe give confidential peer advice by telephone, email and other ways. We focus on helping people overcome the effects of their criminal record.
Visit the online forumA self-supporting community for law-abiding people with convictions - share information, advice and experience on moving on with a criminal record.
Visit Recruit!, our website for employersThere's a talent pool of over 10.5 million people that you might be overlooking. People with criminal records make good employees. Make sure you're not missing out. Recruit! is a website from Unlock that supports UK employers to recruit people with convictions and helps them to deal with criminal records fairly.
Recent developmentsVIEW ALL -
Almost three-quarters of applications for waivers from charity trustees or senior managers who face possible disqualification, have not yet been dealt with by the Charity CommissionNew rules that disqualify people from being senior managers or trustees of charities if they have committed certain offences, will come into force on 1 August. In an article published in Third Sector, Christopher Stacey comments on how Unlock, along with the criminal justice charities Clinks and the Prison Reform Trust, wrote to the Charity Commiss...
- Today we’ve published our summer 18 newsletter. The newsletter provides an update of the news at Unlock in the last three months. It’s sent to everyone who’s on our public mailing list, and we hope it’s a useful way of keeping up to date with what we’ve been up to. Read: Summer 2018 Newsletter Previous newsletters...
Blog – Standing up to the government in the Supreme Court – Some reflections on last month’s landmark criminal record disclosure hearingThe latest blog by Christopher Stacey reflects on last month’s landmark criminal record disclosure hearing. For people with criminal records, last month was pretty significant. The Supreme Court heard the appeal of the Government, which is arguing that their current approach to disclosing old and minor cautions and convictions on standard and enh...
- Commenting on today’s news of changes to the childcare disqualification arrangements, Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, said: “Today’s announcement to scrap the ‘disqualification by association’ rule from schools is long overdue but very welcomed. We’ve been calling for it to be scrapped for nearly 4 years because it did nothin...
- 28/06/2018in Case work, Helpline, News & Media, News on Unlock's work for individuals, Support case studiesLooking back over the last couple of months, we’ve written up a few examples of the people we’ve helped. We hope they give a good idea of how we help people. However, more importantly than our role, we think that these examples show how people with convictions are able to overcome some of the barriers...
- We’ve just published our update for June 2018. This months update includes: An advice post setting out the pros and cons of applying for a Subject Access Request compared with a basic DBS check if you want to find out whats on your criminal record. A link to an...
- As a result of Unlock’s intervention at the Supreme Court in a landmark legal case on the criminal record disclosure regime, we have featured in the following media: BBC Newsnight ‘Fighting to change my criminal record’ The CIPD news site People Management ‘Criminal record checks could infringe human ri...
- 18/06/2018in Latest, News @ Unlock, News & Media, Press releases and comment, Unlocking Experience, What DBS discloseThe Supreme Court will tomorrow hear the Government’s appeal in a long running case about the disclosure of criminal records. The Government is arguing that their current approach to disclosing old and minor cautions and convictions on standard and enhanced criminal record checks, often decades later, is fair. We disagree. And so did the High...
- We are delighted to announce the appointment of four new trustees to the board of Unlock – Mark Day, Faye Goldman, Leigh Hardy and Mark Rowe – who took up their posts in June. They bring with them a wealth of skills and experience that will ably assist...
- Today Unlock has published a paper, University admissions and criminal records: Lessons learned and next steps. The paper is featured in a blog by Christopher Stacey in Times Higher Education. For the last two decades, access to higher education in the UK for people with a criminal record has been seen to be much more...
Feedback on our work
What people have said about us
Your helpline is doing a truly wonderful job in helping people like me who have made a mistake, paid the price, but do not want to be penalised for the rest of their lives.
Person with convictions // Client of our helpline
The forum is a great idea. We all have a story to tell and it’s good to be able to chat to people that in many respects have had similar experiences, especially in terms of trying to find a job.
Person with convictions // Member of our forum
I look forward to receiving your emails, news and updates.They are so useful. The fact that nobody else does this kind of thing makes it so important.
Person with convictions // Subscriber to our e-updates
I am tired of running away from my past. Unlock has been a critical first step in this process. You have provided me with clear, unambiguous guidance. As far as I am aware you are the only body/charity/website that offers the type of detail that is necessary for me to go forward.
Person with convictions
I would like to congratulate Unlock on achieving what some previously considered impossible. I hope that the hard work of Unlock will continue and that through that work, together we can remove some of the unnecessary obstacles faced by offenders who want to lead normal, law abiding lives.
Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice // Speaking at the launch of our Disclosure Calculator
Thank you for all the help you have provided me to advance my Private Members Bill. The Government has accepted a good many recommendations contained in my Bill. I want you to know how much I appreciated your contribution.
The Rt Hon The Lord Dholakia // Commenting on reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
When I first got in touch with you I was very low, but you gave me the emotional support and encouragement I needed. I had felt very isolated but knowing that someone else was there who knew what I was going through kept me going. I don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for Unlock.
Person with convictions // Client of our helpline
I could not believe it when I found your website this evening. I am nearly in tears... I feel absolutely fantastic, more than that, it’s like being reborn.
Person with convictions // User of our website
The new DBS site leaves a lot to be desired in terms of info. Yours is much clearer and more helpful.
Person with convictions // User of our online Information Hub
The disclosure training provided by Unlock is engaging and comprehensive. We held a REACH staff event to look specifically at the changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and staff who attended commented how useful the day had been. Whilst the principles around disclosure are a core part of any service that assists people with convictions into employment, some of the legal aspects are quite complex and I would recommend anyone who works in this field to think about completing the Unlock training to ensure they are fully up to date. This training would also be very useful for employers who wanted to inform their recruitment policies and procedures.
Carrie Peters, Director of REACH // Commenting on training provided to project workers who support people with convictions in finding sustainable employment