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What we do

Find out more about our work

Unlock is a national independent advocacy charity that supports, speaks up and campaigns for people facing stigma, prejudice and discrimination because of their criminal record. 

Our mission is to advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. We:  

  • Support people with criminal records to navigate their way through challenging times
  • Research and raise awareness of the systemic issues that people are facing  
  • Campaign for changes to legislation, policies and practices of government, employers and others. 

Our plan

Take a look at the key priorities and objectives of our 2021-26 strategic plan, or download the full PDF.

Our outcomes and impact

This strategy, and the objectives within it, focus Unlock towards our core goal: to have a positive impact on the lives of people with criminal records, so they can move on positively in their lives. By developing a multi-year business plan to deliver this strategy, we will make sure that we continue to keep our eyes on the overall impact of our work, aligning each project and deliverable, however big or small, to our purpose. We will focus on outcomes to give us clarity about what we’re trying to do, help us track our progress towards long-term impact, and enable us to improve. 

We have two overarching outcomes to our work, one at an individual level and one at a systemic level: 

  1. People have knowledge, skills, confidence and support to overcome the disadvantages related to their criminal record. Two of the strategic objectives of this plan will help us get there – we will reach more people by helping them to self-serve digitally, and we will strengthen our capacity to support people more. Together, this will enable people with criminal records to be aware of their rights, know where to turn for advice, and be able to challenge the stigma and discrimination they are facing. 
  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. Three of the strategic objectives of this plan will help us achieve these changes. We will be a powerful voice in pushing for change to legislation, policies and practices, using strategic litigation to bring about change, and increasing the research and evidence base to support us to achieve change at a policy and systemic level. 

To achieve and underpin our two overarching outcomes, our third outcome is that Unlock is effective, efficient and professional in its work and operations, ensuring we have systems to achieve maximum impact. Developing Unlock’s sustainability, resilience and good governance is one of the six strategic objectives of this strategy. On top of this, we will to continue to:  

  1. Invest in our people – this includes the development of our board, staff and volunteers. We will make sure that the organisation has sufficient capacity to deliver this strategy. We will work effectively as a team to embed and demonstrate our values and our approach across the organisation.
  2. Increase our visibility  this includes growing our media presence, where it is useful for delivering this strategy. We will build on our successful social media presence, developing our strategy further. We will strengthen and align our brand to our values and key messages.  

With positive progress on each of these outcomes, people with criminal records will be better able to move on positively in their lives.  

What does this mean in practice?

We help

We listen and learn

We take action

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

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