This was the question I was asked the other day by someone I met in Spain as part of my Winston Churchill Fellowship. It came after I’d explained about the ferocious appetite in the UK, from employers, for details of criminal records. I was taken aback by the simplicity of the question. And I must […]

Do you spot the difference? To the unlearned eye, they might seem to mean the same thing? But they’re not. And I think there’s something to be said for how we should understand the difference better. One of the problems I often see in the UK is a lot of confusion about whether somebody needs […]

On my first night in Barcelona. I hate to admit this, but travelling alone, and not being able to speak very good Spanish, I found myself having dinner in an Irish pub – my excuse was that the Arsenal v Tottenham game was showing, but subconsciously, I suspect there was something in me which felt […]

When I was on my flight to Spain over the weekend, I was trying to think about what it’s like over in Spain. What’s it like to have a criminal record? I wonder if they do criminal record checks in the same way as the UK? I wonder if people face similar problems, like getting […]

I’m delighted (and feel very fortunate) to be awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how other countries deal with criminal records, and how we could take some of the good policy and practice from overseas and apply it here in the UK. In recent […]

I’m constantly struck by how many ‘hidden’ people have convictions. Pretty much every time I go out and about, at meetings, events and training sessions, somebody usually comes up to me and says “just to let you know, I’ve got convictions”. It happened again today, twice! I ran a training session in London for practitioners. During the break, […]

I’ve decided to revive this blog. I went through a period a couple of years ago of really enjoying putting my personal thoughts down through this site, but the last 18 months or so has seen me focus my efforts on building the new site for Unlock, and in particular, the news/media side of the […]


It’s not often that I talk (or write) about myself when it comes to my job. Or at least not so publically. But early March was certainly the exception that. Without over-exaggerating, it could probably be regarded as the biggest week of my life so far. Why? Firstly, perhaps, the obvious one to regular readers. […]

People with criminal convictions are not the most popular group in society. However, once somebody has served their sentence and doesn’t re-offend, it’s in everybody’s interests to enable them to move on positively with their lives and contribute actively to society. And we’re not talking about a small group of people either – although around […]


I’ve been planning on writing about the recent announcements to increase the use of peer mentors in the community. It raises a number of tensions on my head, including the fear that we’re setting mentors up to fail, expecting them to do too much, using them as a replacement for probation officers, and taking advantage […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,147 other followers