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Category: News for practitioners

Unlock and Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service collaborate on resource for young people with convictions

We are pleased to publish a new resource we’ve created in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service. The booklet, produced for young people and the professionals supporting them, is designed to help a young person understand when they need to disclose their convictions, and how to do so.

Download the booklet

Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“We were delighted to partner with Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service to develop this resource. It’s crucial that organisations supporting individuals with a criminal record have good understanding on if, what, when and how their clients will need to tell employers and others about their criminal record. We have delivered our ‘Advising with Conviction’ training to a range of youth offending teams and we were pleased to follow this up by producing this information booklet for the young people that Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service work with.” 

Laura Moore from Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service said: 

“The fair disclosure of any criminal convictions is paramount to individuals in order for them to successfully move on from their past. The rules can be very confusing, and we have found that, particularly for young people they have little confidence in disclosing the right information or challenging unfair judgements. By working with Unlock we have been able to jointly produce a comprehensive and accurate booklet for young people to give them all the information they need. They can choose to use it now or refer to it the future. It has also proved very useful in encouraging employers and educational organisations to consider their polices around people with criminal records.  Unlock have been a valued partner and source of training and support in this area of expertise.”

Find out more about Unlock’s training for professionals

Criminal records webinar Wednesday 2 December

Do you deal with criminal records in your work? You might be helping people with convictions who are applying for jobs, or working in recruitment/HR and making hiring decisions or carrying out DBS checks.  

If any of these apply to you, book a place and join us on Wednesday 2 December for our webinar on understanding the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and the disclosure of criminal records. 

The criminal records system in England and Wales is complex and often confusing. There are over 11 million people with a criminal record. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is a piece of legislation that sets out when convictions become ‘spent’, and it’s important to know the difference between unspent and spent convictions and when they need to be disclosed.  

When and where?

Wednesday 2 December, 2-4pm, Online
(Please join at 1.45pm to begin promptly at 2pm – thank you) 

Price: £49 (if booked before 1 November, normal price £59) 

Price includes a course pack with materials and useful resources which will be sent to you before the webinar. 

Places are limited, so book now to guarantee your place. If you wish to be notified on any future webinars, please email 

Who is it for? 

The webinar is aimed at anyone who deals with criminal records in their work. You might be helping people with convictions who are applying for jobs, or you might be working in recruitment/HR and making hiring decisions or carrying on DBS checks. 

What it will cover

  • The levels of DBS criminal record check and what they disclose 
  • How individuals can find out about their criminal record 
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and spent convictions 
  • The filtering rules and protected cautions/convictions 
  • Good practice in asking about criminal records for employment and volunteering 

To find out more and to book, visit our Eventbrite page. 


If you have any questions, email 

This webinar is part of the training that we provide. 

New ’10 things about criminal records’ guide for employability professionals

February 2019 update – We have done some work to update the original guide and have now published a version 2 of the guide.

People with criminal records make up a sizeable proportion of the unemployed population – 33% of Job Seekers Allowance claimants have received a criminal record in the last ten years. For many, it can be their main barrier to employment; people with convictions are the least likely ‘disadvantaged group’ to be employed, with nearly three-quarters (73%) of people unemployed on release from prison.

We know that employability professionals provide a vital form of support to people in the community. Yet according to a recent government report, only 29% of prison leavers received advice on dealing with their criminal record from the Work Programme. Historically, they have had very little training on supporting their clients with the complex laws around criminal records and how to practically deal with disclosing their criminal record to employers and others.

That’s why we deliver training to employability professionals; so that we improve the quality of the support provided to people with criminal records. We know from the feedback that we get that the training is high-quality and relevant to their work.

That’s also why we’ve recently worked with the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) and today 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 Convictions’ one-day training course.

Our training courses are regularly run in London. Places can be booked online. In-house training sessions for larger teams are also available; if you’re interested in learning more, details are available online or you can email

Useful links

  1. The ’10 things about criminal records’ guide is available to download.

Our approach to working with other organisations

Working with other organisations is important to us. It often means we can achieve more than by working alone or we can help other organisations to achieve more themselves. For example, we:

We also provide open-access to a vast amount of information and resources through our websites. These websites are set up primarily to support people with convictions as part of the range of support we provide directly to individuals. However, we want as many people to benefit from our resources and we encourage organisations to use them as part of the delivery of their own work.

We are, however, seeing a rise in the number of enquiries from service-providers received by our helpline, which is set up and funded to provide support for individuals themselves.

That’s why we’ve published a document which explains our approach to working with other organisations. The aim is to clarify what support we can offer other organisations and how it can be accessed.

You can download our approach here.

Criminal record disclosure training endorsed by the Probation Institute

We’re delighted to announce that Unlock’s criminal record disclosure training has been endorsed by the Probation Institute. It also means that we’re now a Probation Institute Endorsed Learning Provider.

Commenting on the news, Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“Those working in the probation sector are one of the key audiences for our criminal record disclosure training. We know that, historically, probation officers have had very little training on supporting their clients with the complex laws around criminal records and how to practically deal with disclosing their criminal record to employers and others.”


“The main reason we deliver training to probation providers and other organisations that deliver front-line services is so that we improve the quality of the support provided to people with convictions. We know from the feedback that we get that the training is high-quality and relevant to probation providers. We hope that this endorsement process will enable us to work with more probation services to help them to more effectively support their clients with the disclosure of their criminal records.”


Savas Hadjipavlou, Chief Executive of the Probation Institute, said:

“We are very pleased that the partnership between Unlock and the Probation Institute announced last October is producing results and particularly delighted that Unlock has become a Probation Institute Endorsed Learning Provider. Our endorsement arrangements support those working in probation enabling access to relevant and high quality training that can contribute to their continuing professional development”


More information

  1. You can find out more about our criminal record disclosure training
  2. This news has also been posted on the Probation Institute’s website
  3. You can find out more about the Probation Institute Learning Provider Endorsement Scheme
  4. Press/media enquiries

Check out our LinkedIn page

At Unlock, we like to think of ourselves as making good use of social media as an effective way of communicating with a range of groups of people.

Yet, if we’re being honest, although we try and make regular use of Twitter and Facebook, we’ve probably neglected the role of LinkedIn, and how it might help us to reach out and engage with others.

So that’s what’s new – we’re going to start.

Given LinkedIn is a business-orientated social networking site, to us that means it’s potentially a great way to engage with other organisations and practitioners.

Although we’ve had a page on LinkedIn for a while, we haven’t really used it. So, from now on, we plan to use it to share updates, particularly those that we think might of interest to other organisations, including those that help people with convictions, employers, insurers and others that use criminal records.

So please help us raise awareness of our page – if you have a LinkedIn page, please visit our page and hit ‘Follow’ in the top right-hand corner, or click the ‘Follow’ button below.

Are you a providing probation services? New 2-day criminal record disclosure training course


We’re excited to announce the details of a new a two-day training course, ‘Supporting with Conviction’, designed specifically for probation providers, staff in Community Rehabilitation Companies, and specialists helping people with convictions to get into employment.

At a time when probation provision is going through significant change, both in terms of structure and people, it’s critically important that those responsible for supporting people with convictions have the confidence, knowledge and skills to advise and support their clients on the dealing with the impact of their criminal record.

This ‘Supporting with Conviction’ course builds on the success of Unlock’s one-day training, which we’ve delivered to over 400 practitioners in the last 18 months. Our new two-day course has been specifically designed to meet the needs of probation providers, CRC’s, and other specialist practitioners such as Work Programme advisors.

Christopher Stacey, Co-Director at Unlock said “The recent changes to probation provision present a unique opportunity to ensure that the advice and support provided to people with convictions, both before release from prison and in the community, is of a genuinely high standard.”

“I know from the training courses that we run that there is a huge gap in the knowledge, awareness and understanding amongst those very people who are the primary source of support for people with convictions shortly after their conviction. That’s why we believe this type of training is so important.

“We are particularly keen to work with probation providers to ensure that their staff and practitioners working in a client-facing role have high-quality training on advising and supporting their clients on criminal records, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, disclosing to employers and criminal record checks.”

“It’s clear from the feedback that we get that there’s a demand for more time and detail than what we offer in our one-day course, so this is our response. The two-day course is designed as a comprehensive training package covering all important areas of criminal record disclosure as it relates to people with a criminal record. Split over two days, the course allows plenty of time for discussion and practical exercises. It also allows for attendees to reflect on the complexities of the law around disclosure, which are covered in the first day.”

“We’re looking forward to working with a range of organisations to genuinely improve the advice and support that people with convictions receive.”

To find out more about this training:


  • Unlock is an independent advocacy charity for people with convictions. As an organisation that doesn’t take government funding to deliver services, it was clear to us that our role in probation services would be one that supports those organisations that deliver services on the ground. This builds on our track record of providing accurate and reliable advice and support to people with convictions, while working at a policy level to push for a fairer and more inclusive society.
  • There’s more information about our training on our website
  • You can find out more general information about our support for providers of probation at
  • Alongside this exciting development, we continue to run our ever-popular one-day ‘Advising with Conviction’ training – dates for 2016 will be announced in the coming months.


Find out how we can help you

If you’re a front-line practitioner, or you work for an organisation that delivers services and support to people that include those with criminal convictions, download a leaflet which explains how we can help you.  Continue reading “Find out how we can help you”

Film about disclosing convictions – “Making your past pay”

Earlier this week, there was a film launched by Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC about disclosing convictions to employers.

We helped them out with some of the content, and they mentioned Unlock and our Disclosure Calculator, which is good to see.

You should be able to watch the film below, and there’s more details about the video on the SWM CRC website.

Let us know what you think – feel free to comment at the bottom of this page!


Making Your Past Pay – Help with disclosing previous convictions to employers from SWM Probation on Vimeo.

Raising awareness of the changes to the ROA

In the last couple of days, we’ve been very busy. We’ve been working hard to raise awareness of the changes to the ROA.

Yesterday (10th March) we appeared on BBC Breakfast.

We also took part in a number of regional radio discussions, including BBC London, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Leeds, BBC Coventry, BBC West Midlands, BBC Merseyside and BBC Kent.

We also worked with ITN News to provide them with a case study of somebody who’s convictions became spent as of yesterday. This was briefly featured in their lunchtime news programme.

More broadly, we wrote an article for Open Democracy (The right of offenders to get back on track) and an article for Criminal Law and Justice Weekly (Changing laws on disclosure)

We want to make sure that our website is as helpful as possible.

Letting us know if you easily found what you were looking for or not enables us to continue to improve our service for you and others.

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

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