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.
Support 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 -
- 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...
- From today, the 17th January 2018, basic criminal record checks can now be obtained directly fr...
Latest @ UnlockVIEW ALL -
- Our popular ‘criminal record disclosure’ training workshops continue. We are now ta...
- We’ve just published our update for February 2018. &nb...
- Lord Ramsbotham’s Private Members’ Bill on amending the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 wi...
New guidance and tools published to help charities and individuals deal with changes to charity rules and criminal recordsUnlock, a leading independent charity for people with convictions, has today published guidance...
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 -
- Our popular ‘criminal record disclosure’ training workshops continue. We are now taking bookings for our ‘Advising with Conviction’ workshops which will take place on selected dates in 2018 As experts on criminal record disclosure, we provide high-quality training to front-line practitioners to ensure that they have accurate...
- 01/03/2018in Employment discrimination, Latest, News & Media, News about criminal records, News for employers, Press releases and commentCommenting on today’s news that the Recruitment & Employment Confederation has become a Ban the Box employer, Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, the national charity for people with convictions, said: “Recruitment agencies are an important source of job opportunities for people with a criminal record. That’s why we’ve been working with ...
- 28/02/2018in Employment discrimination, Esmee, Ineligible checks, Latest, News & Media, News about criminal records, Unlock's blog, Way DBS work, Way ROA worksThe latest blog by Christopher Stacey (published on the Huffington Post) questions the use of enhanced DBS checks as the answer to Oxfam’s safeguarding problems. Read it here....
- We’ve just published our update for February 2018. This months update includes: Some new guidance for individuals on changes to the rules on being a trustee or senior manager of a charity with a criminal record. Additional information in our seven stages of a criminal record series. A personal...
- In the government’s updated Homelessness code of practice, it has made clear that convictions that are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 should be ignored. Chapter 23 focuses on “people with a offending history”, and section 23.29 reads: “23.29 People with an offending history face barriers to accessing ac...
- Lord Ramsbotham’s Private Members’ Bill on amending the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will have its Second Reading in the House of Lords tomorrow, Friday 23rd February. The Bill, which would shorten the rehabilitation periods that apply under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA), proposes a number of changes. One of the most signif...
- 01/02/2018in Employment discrimination, News @ Unlock, News & Media, Press releases and comment, Trustee
New guidance and tools published to help charities and individuals deal with changes to charity rules and criminal recordsUnlock, a leading independent charity for people with convictions, has today published guidance to help charities, as well as those involved in them, understand and prepare for changes to charity rules and its impact on people with criminal records. From 1st August 2018, changes to the ‘automatic disqualification’ rules mean that there will be more...
- We’ve just published our update for January 2018. This months update includes: Some new information on the introduction of basic criminal record checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service. A personal story from a gentleman who trained to become a barber whilst in prison who’s gone on to provid...
- We are actively recruiting Trustees to join the Board at Unlock Unlock is an independent award-winning charity that provides a voice and support for people with convictions who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record. We are an innovative, creative and award winning social action charity, seeking people with the appr...
- 22/01/2018in News @ UnlockUnlock is delighted to publish the Unlock Annual Report 2016/2017 which describes our impact including: feedback from people we have helped: “changed my life actually“, “you have given me hope“, “you are making a very positive contribution to the goal of rehabilitating o...
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