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Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026

Our Priorities and Objectives for 2021-26

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We have 3 main priorities and objectives for 2021 - 2026 that will help us help people with criminal records.

Priority 1

People have knowledge, skills, confidence and support to overcome the disadvantages related to their criminal record

How will we achieve this

We will reach more people by helping them to self-serve digitally:

  • Implement our digital strategy
  • Redevelop our websites
  • Develop and implement innovative tools to help people
  • Develop our digital training for professionals


We will strengthen our capacity to support people more:

  • Strengthen our multi-channel support to maintain highest possible standards
  • Ensure we have the resources to effectively advise those that need to contact us
  • Expand our case work and individual advocacy support


Priority 2

People with criminal records are free from stigma, prejudice and discrimination as a result of government, employers and others having policies, practices and attitudes that support their fair treatment.

How will we achieve this

We will advocate and campaign, building on our areas of strength, going deeper into the policy and systemic issues that significantly affect people:

  • Push for a root and branch review of the criminal records disclosure system
  • Challenge the increase in use of unnecessary DBS checks, and stop unlawful higher-level checks
  • Influence employer policies and embed fair recruitment practices
  • Build on our work to promote fair access to higher education


We will increase our use of the law and strategic litigation as a tactic for achieving change:

  • Develop a legal strategy with a plan for how we will deliver it
  • Identify and prioritise key areas where legal cases could help to achieve wider systemic change
  • Seek to collaborate with others in this work


We will increase the research and evidence base to support our work to achieve change at a policy and systemic level:

  • Develop a research strategy with a plan for how we will deliver it
  • Effectively integrate the experiences and perspectives of people with criminal records into our approach to research

Priority 3

Unlock continues to be effective, efficient and professional in its work and operations, ensuring we have systems to achieve maximum impact

How we will achieve this

We will maintain good governance and develop Unlock’s sustainability and resilience:

  • Translate our priorities into fully funded and resourced delivery
  • Develop unrestricted funding streams including support from donors and philanthropists, and by growing earned income
  • Continue to measure ourselves against the Charity Governance Code
  • Ensure that we maintain a focus on increasing diversity and inclusion, with the aim of being representative of all sections of society

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

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