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Our approach

Our vision as a charity is ambitious, particularly given our resources. To ensure that it is achieved in a way which remains true to our mission and vision, we adopt the following values in the approach to our work;



We neither seek nor accept government funding. Unlock does not deliver government-contracted services. We believe it is important that we are able to hold government, agencies and others to account. We also believe it’s important that people with convictions trust us. That’s why we’re independent.


People with convictions

We recruit people with convictions as staff and volunteers to deliver our front-line information, advice and support for our clients. Personal experience is intrinsically valuable. It offers a bridge of understanding, awareness and empathy to people who sometimes find it hard to talk about the issues that are affecting their lives. We also aim to have a Trustee Board with a minimum of 50% being people with convictions. People with convictions are in a unique position to know what needs to change. Together, this ensures that Unlock has legitimacy as a beneficiary-led and delivered charity.


Ear to the ground, voice at the top

We listen and engage with people every day who are facing difficulties as a result of their convictions. With an impressive track record of identifying issues, finding solutions and putting them into practice, we influence policy and create systemic change, continually punching above our weight to achieve large-scale outcomes with intermediaries, including employers, financial services, resettlement service providers, advice agencies and local/central government.


Think big. Act big. Stay small.

Unlock is a small charity with big ideas. We will constantly adapt our work so that we better meet the needs of our client group. To do this, we need to make tough choices; we can’t do everything. Longer-term, it is important that we are able to ensure that the organisations’ core work continues, which means working efficiently and effectively.


Working in partnership

As a small charity, we work with like-minded organisations so that, together, we are able to achieve our aims. However, if we are to achieve real change, we also need to work with people and organisations that are different to Unlock and develop partnerships that influence the way they think and behave.

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12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

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