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Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

We’ve updated our recruitment policy for applicants with a criminal record

As a charity set up by people with criminal records, Unlock is committed to fair recruitment and the inclusion of people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Our recruitment policy has helped us do that but we believe every organisation should regularly review their policies and practices to make sure they’re as effective as they can be.

We wanted to make sure our approach reflects the advice and guidance we provide to other employers as part of our employment project. That’s why we’ve reviewed our ‘Applicants with a criminal record policy’ and made some improvements, in particular more detail on if, what, when and why we ask about criminal records for different roles.

It is essential that people do not face unfair discrimination in any role within the charity, whether paid or voluntary. For that reason, we do not use criminal records to exclude people. We only ask about criminal records if they are relevant to the role. These include peer delivered roles and those where there is a regulatory requirement to ask.

For peer delivered roles, having a criminal record is a requirement. In this context, we are looking for individuals who have received a conviction or caution for a criminal offence. Where this applies, it will be made clear in the vacancy details, and applicants will be expected to discuss this at interview as it forms part of the ‘experience’ we are looking for as part of the particular role.

Regulatory requirements mean certain senior roles and trustee positions may require disclosure depending on the individual’s circumstances.

We do not have any blanket bans on offence types; the purpose of any disclosure is to support applicants to show they have the relevant experience to be able to deliver the role. We will not look to exclude an applicant because of a criminal record.

We hope that sharing our updated policy will also encourage other organisations working in the criminal justice sector to think about their own approach to actively involving people with criminal records.

Download: Applicants with a criminal record policy


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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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