Here we set out the key issues we’re focusing on as part of our policy and campaign work.

Separately, we’ve set out our priorities for government.


Ban the Box – Unlock co-founded the campaign in 2013, calling on employers to remove questions about criminal records from application forms. This might mean asking later on, or realising that asking isn’t necessary at all. Ban the Box links with our fair access to employment project. We also have a section about this on our website for employers.

Clean Slate – We are pushing for the government to reform the system of disclosing old and minor criminal records. Find out more.

Core issues

1. Further reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

2. Challenging the DBS ‘filtering’ process

3. Supporting and challenging employers

4. Stopping unlawful/ineligible DBS checks

5. Improving how the DBS works for people with criminal records

6. Stopping the DVLA sharing of spent motoring convictions

7. Reducing the ‘google-effect’ for people with spent convictions

8. Scrapping ‘Disqualification by Association’ for non-domestic settings

9. Enabling people with convictions to become trustees and run charities

10. Stopping enforced subject access requests

11. Stopping employers asking misleading questions

12. Promoting fair admission to universities and colleges

13. Improving support secure meaningful employment

14. Ensuring fair treatment by insurance companies

15. Maintaining systems for prisoners to open bank accounts 

16. Encouraging fair treatment by housing providers

Other areas of interest

We get involved in other areas of policy where there is a link to our work. Although we don’t have dedicated policy pages for these, we tag any news or posts and these are brought together with the links below.

  1. Childhood criminal records – This includes work with the Standing Committee for Youth Justice on reforming law on the disclosure of youth criminal records.
  2. Youth criminal records – This includes our work with the Justice Committee and our Unlocking Experience project.
  3. Prison reform – This includes reforms to prison policies, particularly around resettlement and employment.
  4. Prison education – This includes our work with government and other charities 
  5. Transforming Rehabilitation – This relates to the split of probation into the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s).
  6. #Wipetheslateclean – This campaign was launched by Bob Ashford and is supported by Unlock.

Ear to the ground, voice at the top

We know that the issues people face as a result of their criminal record can vary over time and we are always keen to hear about your experiences. As a result we know there is a long list of policy issues

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