NI plays catch up criminal records review


Northern Ireland's Justice Minister, David Ford. (Photo: Michael Carchrie Campbell)
David Ford MLA, Justice Minister for Northern Ireland

Today, Northern Ireland’s justice minister, David Ford MLA, launched a review into Access NI‘s procedures for issuing criminal record disclosures for those who work with vulnerable people.


Having had experience of how to get a CRB disclosure as a result of being a member of FLAGS which is administratively a Scout District within the Scout County of National Headquarters at Gilwell Park, and getting Access NI disclosure, I can say that the English form and procedures seem much simpler.

The minister has appointed Sunita Mason to head up the review.

Sunita Mason is the UK Government’s Independent Adviser for Criminality Information Management for England and Wales. Mrs Mason advises ministers on how public protection agencies and services can improve the way criminality information is handled and shared to protect the vulnerable and reduce risk to the public.

A leading family law solicitor, Mrs Mason was formerly director of legal services for the National Youth Advocacy Service. She is a member of the Law Society‘s children panel and is currently chair of its family law committee. She is also a deputy district judge on the north-eastern circuit and vice-chair of Hill Holt Wood, a charity working with disadvantaged young people.

from DoJNI press release

Hopefully with the review that is happening in England & Wales, Northern Ireland will have similar arrangements here. Although we have our own systems for many things, making them similar to those in the rest of the United Kingdom would seem to be more sensible, especially when it comes to the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

The Criminal Records Review Northern Ireland questionnaire can be found online.

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