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Unlock Annual Report 2019-20

We are delighted to publish the Unlock Annual Report 2019-20.

Compiling our report this year was quite a task as we had so much to say about our work and achievements – from developing our trustee board to supporting volunteers, and from providing direct support to individuals to fighting for system change and a society that lets people move on from their past.

It was a remarkable year with many successes despite the arrival of Covid-19. The impact of the pandemic was mitigated as far as possible and we quickly adapted to remote working and continued delivery of our work. Without doubt, people with criminal records now face additional challenges as jobs are lost and new ones hard to find when disclosing a conviction so often means rejection.

For some 45,000 people this will at least be made easier by the change to the ‘filtering rules’ on 28 November, meaning that for jobs and voluntary roles that involve a standard or enhanced criminal record check issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service, childhood cautions will no longer be disclosed, and a rule that meant someone with more than one conviction had all their convictions disclosed, regardless of offence or length of time, has been abolished.

For people who have been held back from employment and volunteering to help others because of mistakes they made years ago, the impact will be life changing.  Unlock along with others have long campaigned for this, fighting the government all the way to the Supreme Court. Many people have written to us to express what it means to them:

“I’ve spent the morning in tears because I’m so overjoyed… I will be forever grateful to Unlock and you for helping me. I cannot believe that from next week I will be able to apply for teaching jobs without the worry of dragging up my childhood traumas… Good luck with the continued fight for a better justice system.” 

 “I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone there for the life changing work that you all do. You may never fully know just what an impact your work has on peoples’ lives. I will be forever grateful to you and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

There’s much more work to be done to further reform disclosure law along with the other vital work we carry out to enable people to live their best lives. 2020-21 promises to be another busy year ahead.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support, faith and generosity of our funders, donors and volunteers, to whom we extend our sincere gratitude.

Thank you for taking the time to read our 2019-20 annual report

Julie Harmsworth


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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