“Excellent training session – one of the most useful I’ve done in my 25 year career. Everyone who helps and gives advice to people with criminal records should do this – it should be mandatory”

JobCentre Plus Adviser

“I should have done this 8 years ago when I started the job – I thought I knew about disclosure, but this session really opened my eyes and I learnt so much – well worth the 3 hour train journey each way!”

Probation Officer

  • Are your staff up-to-date with the laws around disclosing criminal records?
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act changed in 2014 for the first time in 40 years.
  • The DBS now has a system for ‘filtering’ cautions and convictions
  • Do your staff feel confident in advising your clients on whether they need to disclose, and if they do, how to do so?
  • Giving accurate and good quality advice to people with convictions will help them to increase their chances of finding and keeping a job!

“According to a Government report, only 29% of prison leavers received advice on dealing with their criminal record from the Work Programme”

This section of our website sets out some of the ways in which we work in partnership with organisations that deliver front-line services to help people with convictions.

About us

Unlock is an independent award-winning charity, providing trusted information, advice and advocacy for people with criminal convictions.

Working closely with the Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Disclosure & Barring Service and Disclosure Scotland, we are a leading charity in England & Wales in understanding criminal record checking processes and the impact of these systems on the lives of people with criminal convictions. As a result, we are a ‘go-to’ place for charities, resettlement service providers, probation staff and others who are looking for advice on behalf of their clients.

Find out more about our approach to working with other organisations.

Our offer

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  • Unlock doesn’t deliver government contracts or services – we support those that do
  • We are an independent advocacy charity for people with convictions
  • We are a peer-led charity, run and staffed by people who have a criminal record
  • First and foremost, we respond to the issues that people with convictions face – getting access to accurate, reliable advice is a key charitable objective of ours, and underpins this area of our work
  • Our independence and approach enables us to work across the board with a range of providers of services in a collaborative and non-competitive way

Our impact

In the last year:

  • We reached over 400 different practitioners by providing training and support
  • Our disclosure calculator was used over 40,000 times to work out when convictions become spent

“This training should be mandatory for all probation officers. I’ve done this job for 6 years ago and I can’t believe it’s taken this long to find out about all of this. This is going to really help me to give people confidence to trust what I’m telling them”

Senior Probation Officer

As an ETE team in Probation there is an expectation that advisors offer advice and support to service users about the declaration of offences when applying for work. The Rehabilitation of Offenders act changed in 2014, changing spent periods and other legalities. The team identified a training need to update their knowledge of this to enable continued appropriate advice to service users. There was no training available internally although the team did have the updated guidance from the Ministry of Justice.

The team already used the Unlock website as a resource and discovered training was available. Feedback from this was that it was very helpful for the knowledgeable trainer to summarise the changes to the Act and to answer any questions the team had. It was then also useful to go through real examples to work out spent periods. This gave advisors confidence to support service users to calculate their spent periods and/or access Unlock’s online tools to do this.

We regularly put any new members of our team on upcoming training that Unlock run – we believe it’s an integral part to their skills.”

Education, Training and Employment (ETE) Manager

Looking to commission a service?

Just to be clear, Unlock is not a service delivery organisation and we do not take government funding to deliver such support. We don’t compete to deliver contracts and we do not duplicate or replicate support that should be being provided elsewhere.

It is, however, vital that those organisations who are contracted to deliver these services, have the skills and knowledge to enable them to provide accurate, reliable and up to date advice and support to those clients who have criminal convictions, particularly on issues relating to criminal records, disclosure and access to employment, training and education.

This is where Unlock can help. We have a range of support available for organisations which includes:-

Ultimately, mistakes can be costly. We have seen many examples where people have lost jobs and others opportunities as a result of being given inaccurate advice.

In particular, it’s important that employability professionals understand a number of key areas when it comes to criminal records. That’s why we’ve worked with the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) and have published a ‘10 things about criminal records’ guide aimed specifically at employability professionals. The guide is designed for practitioners that support people with criminal records into employment, including employability professionals, job centre advisors, careers advisors and probation officers. The guide is available to download and forms part of IEP’s range of ’10 things’ guides. We hope it serves as a useful introduction and reference point for employability professionals. It provides an overview of the key areas, following a similar structure to that taken by our ‘Advising with Conviction’ one-day training course.

If you are interested in finding out more about our in-house training, please email admin@unlock.org.uk or call 01622 230705.

For more information

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Download our one-pager

Read our one-page brief of how we support service providers

Probation Providers

Do you deliver probation services as part of a CRC or the NPS? Find out more about how we support you in your work.

In-house 'criminal record disclosure' training

We run a range of training courses in-house for practitioners.

Use of our Disclosure Calculator

This online tool enables practitioners to support their clients by helping them to work out when their convictions become spent.

Disclosure workshops

We offer two-hour workshops for groups of people with convictions.

Our approach to working with other organisations

This explains how we work with other organisations. It sets out what support we can offer other organisations and how it can be accessed.

Looking for referrals? Or to signpost people to us?

Find out more about our approach to referrals and signposting.
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