Worried about your criminal record?

What we do

Unlock is an independent award-winning charity which provides information, advice, training and advocacy, dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions.

Our staff and volunteers combine professional training with personal experience to help others overcome the long-term problems that having a conviction can bring.

Our knowledge and insight helps us to work with government, employers and others, to change policies and practices to create a fairer and more inclusive society so that people with convictions can move on in their lives.

Some key areas to our core website are below.

Support us

We rely on charitable grants and individual donations to continue our work. We do not deliver government services. Our clients and beneficiaries are often unemployed and in poverty. Every year, a quarter of a million people use our services. For a small organisation, with just 3.3 members of staff, we make a big difference.



Or, you can text UNLK25 with the amount you wish to donate (e.g. £10) to 70070, or find out other ways to donate.

Latest news

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Find out more about our training

Training for practitioners

We deliver full-day workshops, and 4-hour masterclasses. Both are designed to help front-line practitioners to provide accurate, effective advice
Find details of our voluntary vacancies

Voluntary vacancies

We rely on volunteers to help us to deliver our charitable services. We have a number of voluntary opportunities, for both people with convictions and for people without convictions.
See the types of examples we're looking for

Evidence for our policy work

We're looking for evidence to support key policy issues we're working on, including how the DBS 'filtering' system doesn't go far enough, and on the 'google effect'.
A summary of what's happening

Latest on the ROA

We're keeping an up to date page with what's happening on the recent changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which came into force on the 10th March 2014.

Our other sites for people with convictions


As well as this core website, we have developed a number of specific websites which are mainly designed for people with convictions. These are linked to below.

Visit hub.unlock.org.uk

Information Hub

The 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 online forum

Online Forum

A self-supporting community for law-abiding people with convictions - share information, advice and experience on moving on with a criminal record.
Visit the Disclosure Calculator

Disclosure Calculator

An online tool that works out when your convictions are spent and so don't need to be disclosed to most employers and insurers
Visit theRecord

Magazine - theRecord

The online magazine for law-abiding people with convictions - share news, views and personal stories about life with a conviction

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
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