Press & Media - News at UNLOCK
This page includes news relating to Unlock generally. It is part of a broader communications strategy which covers a number of streams. You can also:
- read the latest 'headline' news frontpage of this site
- follow us on Twitter, @unlock2000
- view our press releases (and sign up to receive email notifications)
- read theRecord (our magazine) and subscribe to receive it each mont
- find out about the latest updates to our Information Hub (and sign up to receive email notifications)
- contact our spokespeople
Selected news in detail
February 2013 - Executive Director Chris Bath departing
Unlock’s Chair of Trustees Linda Pizani-Williams today announced the departure of Executive Director Chris Bath at the end of February. Chris will take up the role of Chief Executive at another criminal justice charity in March.
Chris said, “After almost 8 years with Unlock it’s a hugely emotional decision to leave. As a team we’ve overcome some significant challenges and shared incredible successes. But I’m proud to leave the charity with a clear strategic plan, stable finances and the promise of support from some fantastic new funders. Unlock has a very exciting future ahead of it.”
Linda Pizani-Williams said, “Chris has transformed Unlock and will be greatly missed. However his departure is a natural fit with the strategy he has developed, which redirects resources away from management to providing direct support to people in need.”
Unlock’s new strategy involves investment in front line staff and an enhanced trustee board led by an Executive Chair. Julie Harmsworth will retain responsibility for HR, finance and fundraising as Director (Operations). Christopher Stacey will lead projects and services as Director (Services).
January 2013 - Launch of Unlocking Credit Unions
'Unlocking Credit Unions' is a new report from Unlock hat shows membership of a community financial institution can have positive economic, social and psychological effects that support desistance from crime. Read more about the project, and download the report, here.
April 2012 - New Executive Director appointed by UNLOCK Trustees
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Chris Bath to the post of Executive Director of UNLOCK. The appointment is a key part of a strategic change process initiated by Bobby Cummines, who formally retired as CEO on March 31st 2012 after 10 years at the helm.
Many of you will already know Chris as a result of his various roles at UNLOCK, most recently as Director of Operations. Prior to UNLOCK, Chris achieved a first class degree in management from Warwick Business School before gaining practical experience with leading companies including Unilever and BMW. Since joining UNLOCK in 2005, he has led many aspects of our work including project delivery and management, research, strategic planning, financial management and fundraising. He’s also been a key contributor to our policy and media work and, as those of you who have met him will know, he is deeply passionate about the cause.
I am sure that you will join with us in wishing Bobby the best of luck in pursuing his personal projects. Succession planning for sustainability has been a key focus for Bobby in recent years and the Board agreed with him that Chris’ seven year ‘apprenticeship’ provides him with the right mix of skills, understanding and passion to lead the next phase of UNLOCK’s development.
These are difficult economic times for our beneficiaries and for small charities. However, continuous renewal and reinvention are the hallmarks of successful organisations and we know UNLOCK’s small but dynamic team of staff and volunteers is well equipped to tackle the challenges ahead. As ever, we are grateful for your continued support as UNLOCK continues to tackle the discrimination and inequality facing reformed offenders.
April 2012 - Thank you by Bobby Cummines
Dear friends, it is with mixed feelings that I write this article to announce that I have stepped down as CEO of UNLOCK from March 31st.
UNLOCK has been my life for the past twelve years and during that time we have achieved things that all others said were impossible; bank accounts for serving prisoners, insurance for reformed offenders and their families. And we stood strong on the right for prisoners to have the vote.
I have advised Ministers and Judges to help reduce offending and to eradicate discrimination of reformed offenders and this will continue. I am a patron of several charities and have been asked to be a consultant to them and others. I shall still be doing conference talks, after dinner speaking, radio and TV appearances.
I have met some truly beautiful people in my work and made many friends from all social backgrounds, and they will remain dear friends. I would like to thank all of you that have supported UNLOCK over the years, without you it would not exist. I would like to thank my friends in Parliament who have helped me and acted upon my advice. I would also like to thank the media for allowing me a voice to highlight the discrimination our members face every day.
I thank you, the UNLOCK members and volunteers, who have helped make this charity what it is today. I would like to thank our Patrons for their support and our Trustees who have been a great support to me. I would like to thank Lord Ramsbotham our President for his friendship, guidance and support over these years. He is, and always will be,
a true inspiration to me and others. I would also like to thank our Vice President Judge John Samuels for his wise council and friendship.
But most of all, I need to thank the staff at UNLOCK who have stood with me in the good and bad times and will carry on their amazing work; Julie, Debbie, Christopher and Chris. I leave my cherished charity in the capable hands of Chris Bath, who I know will lead it in a professional way and make me proud.
So thank you all for sharing this wonderful journey with me and know I shall continue to fight your corner out there in the big bad world.
My love and best wishes to you all.
December 2011 - We win Guardian Charity Awards 2011
We are proud to announce that we have been chosen as a winner at the Guardian Charity Awards 2011
Pictured (from left to right): Jane Asher (President, Arthritis Care, Parkinson's UK and the National Autistic Society), Christopher Stacey (Head of Projects & Services, UNLOCK), Julie Harmsworth (Deputy Chief Executive, UNLOCK), Chris Bath (Director of Operations & Development, UNLOCK) and Jonathan Pryce (Actor and Patron of Friendship Works).
“Remarkable and inspiring story of the chief executive turning their life around” - Jane Asher
“Brilliant, very positive story” - Baroness Howarth
“Offering the long-term support needed after prison” - Pauline Broomhead
“Use of online and media is great – shows huge potential” - Caroline Diehl MBE
"A positive story tackling controversial issues" - Judges summary
Find out more about the judges and the awards.
Visit UNLOCK's winners page on the Guardian website to find out more about why we won and watch a film about our work.
November 2011 - Helpine Opening Hours
The Information & Advice Service Helpline is now open Tuesdays & Thursdays between 9am and 5pm. More details about contacting the helpline can be found here.
October 2011 - Launch of the Disclosure Calculator
This Octotober we took to the House of Lords, armed with one Minister and two Lords, to launch the UNLOCK Criminal Record Disclosure Calculator. It’s a new online tool to help people determine when their conviction will be ‘spent’.
The Rt Hon Lord McNally – Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice; Lord Navnit Dholakia OBEBE PC DL; and UNLOCK President, Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE , congregated with UNLOCK staff, volunteers and members, plus insurers, barristers and more for the highlight of our year.
Opening the meeting, Bobby Cummines OBE called for a “right of access to a normal life for reformed offenders” which isn’t currently available under the ROA. He said that we need to look at a “common sense” approach to reform where people are not blocked on employment, insurance and housing.
Christopher Stacey, Head of Projects & Services at UNLOCK, went on to detail the calculator, used to determine when a conviction will become “spent” under the ROA. Stacey said: “Currently the ROA is very complicated, so we need a calculator that’s easy to update in response to any changes. It’s been developed with our members and feedback from various organisations, supported by a grant from Persula Foundation”.
Members echoed the sentiments and welcomed the new calculator: “It’s so simple to use and you don’t have to worry talking to people, where they might judge you on a past offence. You can use it in the comfort of your own home. And it’s free too.” said an UNLOCK member.
Closing the meeting Lord McNally congratulated the work. His speech is provided below to give you an insight into what the Government has to say about your least favourite law.
Further feedback on the calculator has also been positive with news of its launch sweeping across various online social networks. To use it is simple. You just need to register with an email and some brief personal details such as your DOB, gather and enter information pertaining to your conviction, sentence or disposal received and agree to the terms and conditions.
The calculator is sponsored by online insurance providers homeprotect whose website is at www.homeprotect.co.uk. To find out when your conviction will be spent visit www.disclosurecalculator.org.uk to try it out for yourself.
To read the speach of Lord McNally, click here.