Unlock asks that the institutions which are committed to improving access and participation for people with criminal records sign up to our Pledge. This helps applicants to determine where they will be treated fairly, as well as communicating your institution’s dedication to the public.
We believe everyone with the potential and ambition to go to university should have the opportunity to do so, regardless of background. People with criminal convictions face obstacles and barriers to accessing university, yet higher education has the power to transform their lives by helping them move forward and make a positive contribution to society. Therefore, as the leaders of our institutions we pledge to give applicants with a criminal record a fair chance by:
Asking applicants about criminal records only if – and when – it is necessary
Asking targeted and proportionate questions during the admissions process
Making our policy transparent and accessible to all applicants
If necessary, offering applicants a chance to discuss their case in person before a decision is made
Considering flexible adjustments and alternatives for applicants
Ensuring staff are trained to make fair and impartial judgements about applicants
Supporting students with criminal records to help them achieve academic success
Communicating positively about the benefits of a fair admissions process
”We have encountered a few questions with students [with criminal records] that didn’t have an obvious resolution. Having the pledge to refer back to, so that we know what principles we should be applying when we make a decision, has helped a lot. It provides a guide”
For providers who would like to explore signing the Pledge, additional resources are available. These include assessment frameworks and examples of how other providers changed their practice. Contact email@example.com for more information.