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Chief Executive Officer | Unlock

Join Unlock as our new Chief Executive Officer and lead the next stage of our development to deepen and extend our life-changing work.

  • Location: Flexible with head office in Maidstone, Kent
  • Salary: £60,000 - £65,000 plus benefits

About the role

Unlock is an independent, award-winning national advocacy charity that helps people overcome long-term disadvantages caused by their criminal record. We do this through providing information, advice and support and by challenging discriminatory practices, advocating for change and working at a policy level to address systemic and structural issues. The impact of our work is truly life changing.

We are a small charity achieving big things and punching well above our weight. We are recognised as ‘the place to go’ for other organisations to obtain accurate and reliable information and recognised as a trusted expert. However, there is more to do and with up to 11 million people in the UK living with convictions we want to continue to extend our reach and impact, provide further support to our beneficiaries and continue to challenge policies and practice that unfairly restrict opportunities for people with criminal records.

Who we are looking for

As we anticipate the start of our next ambitious strategy, which includes the development of our digital capacity, we are looking for a hands-on leader; someone who can work alongside our dedicated staff and volunteers, and stand-up for our beneficiaries as we enter the next stage of our development.

You will be genuinely committed to our aims, mission and values and bring leadership experience most likely, although not exclusively, gained within an organisation focused on criminal and/or social justice, equality and human rights and/or supporting disadvantaged people.

We are looking for someone with the experience and know-how to continue to amplify our research, policy and campaigning work. Someone with intellectual and political acuity and the ability to foster and maximise partnerships. However, there is no room for ego. To thrive as our new CEO, you will be team-oriented, humble and enabling. You will be ready to roll up your sleeves and guide and support our small, expert team as we focus on improving and enhancing our work, ensuring our support and advice works hand-in-hand with our policy influencing.

This is a tremendous opportunity to build on our momentum and lead a well-respected and impactful organisation. You will be working with a dedicated team and an effective board of trustees to enable you to continue to build on our strong reputation and enhance our impact.

If you would like an informal conversation about the roles you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Philippa Fabry | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071

Michael Earnshaw | michael@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07494 595178

Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 15th February 2021

Unlock is an equal opportunities organisation and committed to increasing diversity.

We particularly welcome applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates. We warmly welcome applications from all suitably skilled people regardless of background and we are open to appoint people who have themselves met with and overcome the disadvantages of having a criminal record. A past criminal record is not a requirement for this role but nor is it a bar. 

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Philippa Fabry

View profile

A welcome from Mark Rowe, Chair of Trustees

Thank you for your interest in becoming our new Chief Executive.

You join us at an exciting time as we move from a Co-Director model and anticipate the launch of our next five-year strategy. This will see us continue to sustain, develop and extend our work which provides a voice and support for people with convictions who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record.

We have achieved a great deal for the people we support and that is testament to the talents of our dedicated team of staff and volunteers. Through listening and engaging with people who face difficulties because of their convictions we have an impressive track record of identifying issues, finding solutions and putting them into practice. We also influence policy and create systematic change.

Whilst we are a small charity we punch above our weight; we’re resourceful, impactful and work efficiently with like-minded organisations so that, together, we can achieve our aims. We are widely recognised as the go to organisation in this arena.

We are looking for a collaborative and developmental leader who is absolutely aligned to our aims and is excited by the potential of building on our exceptionally strong base and enabling us to achieve more. You will work with a talented and dedicated team and a strong board of trustees, along with our partners to drive forward this next exciting chapter in Unlock’s journey.

If you are motivated to help people move on positively with their lives and create a fairer and more inclusive society this is the place for you. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Kind regards,

Mark Rowe
Chair of Trustees

Unlock is an independent award-winning national advocacy charity that provides a voice and support for people who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record, often long after they have served their sentence.

Our Mission

To help people overcome the long-term disadvantages caused by their criminal convictions, and work with government, employers and others to enable people to move on positively in their lives.

Our Vision

“A fair and inclusive society where people with convictions can move on positively in their lives.”

We exist for two simple reasons:

Firstly, we help people to move on positively with their lives by empowering them with information, advice and support to overcome the stigma of their previous convictions.

To do this we provide information, advice and support including running an information site and confidential peer-run helpline. We help practitioners support people by providing criminal record disclosure training. And we support employers and universities in treating people fairly.

Secondly, we seek to promote a fairer and more inclusive society by challenging discriminatory practices and promoting socially just alternatives.

To do this we advocate for change, working at policy level to address systemic and structural issues. We listen to and consult with people, undertake research and produce evidence-based reports to inform policy makers and the public. We challenge bad practice, influence attitudes and speak truth to power. We co-founded and support the Ban the Box campaign and we are pushing for #FairChecks, a fresh start for the criminal records system.

Our Awards

Unlock has been the recipient of a number of Awards which include:

2011 – Winner of the Guardian Small Charity Awards 

This award recognised our innovation, pioneering work, and making a real difference to people’s lives.

2016 – Winner of The Longford Prize.

Unlock won the prestigious 2016 Longford Prize which recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform in showing outstanding qualities of humanity, courage, persistence, originality and commitment to diversity.

2020 – Unlock wins ‘outstanding national organisation’ at Criminal Justice Alliance Awards.

Unlock won the Criminal Justice Alliance,  Outstanding National Organisation 2020 award for our contribution to a significantly to a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.

Our strategy

Our strategy for the next five years is shortly to be agreed by the Board. In developing this strategy, we wanted to ensure that the views and experiences of individuals with criminal records were at the heart of our thinking. The strategy is the product of careful deliberation on what we heard and will set out an ambitious plan to tackle some of the long-standing problems they face.

We want to stay true to our “ear to the ground, voice at the top” philosophy. Providing information and advice to those with criminal records is key to Unlock – it not only provides crucial support to individuals at the times that they need it, but it also helps us to identify new and systemic issues that people are facing.

We will continue to deliver this practical support and develop it for the digital age. It is the insights individuals give us that inspire us and drive our work to achieve systemic change. We will also do more to fix the root causes of the stigma, prejudice and discrimination people face by campaigning, using the law and building empirical evidence through research to achieve positive changes to laws, policies and practices.

More information:

Unlock website

Our annual report

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    To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Unlock – CEO” into the subject field.

    If you would like to have an informal conversation about this opportunity you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Unlock is an equal opportunities organisation and committed to increasing diversity.

    We particularly welcome applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates. We warmly welcome applications from all suitably skilled people regardless of background and we are open to appoint people who have themselves met with and overcome the disadvantages of having a criminal record. A past criminal record is not a requirement for this role but nor is it a bar.

    Timetable

    Closing date: 9am, Monday 15th February 2021
    Longlist: Friday 19th February 2021
    First interviews: w/c Monday 22nd February 2021
    Shortlist: Tuesday 2nd March 2021
    Final interviews: w/c Monday 8th March 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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    The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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