Part V of the Police Act 1997 provides for information regarding a person's criminal record history to be disclosed to persons registered under the Act for certain purposes including engaging in regulated activity.

The Act

Anyone who receives such information may pass this information to others, but only in line with the provisions of Section 124 of that Act.

If information is passed to anyone who is not authorised to receive it the recipient of the information will be committing an offence under section 124 of the Act.

The Memorandum to A code of Practice for Third Party Recipients of Criminal Record Information published by NIO (now Department of Justice) sets out obligations on the fair use and handling of information disclosed under the Act.

Recipients of disclosure information:

  • must ensure information is made available only to those who need to have access to it in the course of their duties
  • must securely store the information
  • must not retain the disclosures or a record of disclosure for longer than required and no longer than six months after a recruitment or other decision has been taken
  • must destroy certificates securely and not retain any photocopy or other image

This six month period should only be exceeded in very exceptional circumstances and in consultation with Access NI 

Where the RQIA require an assurance from their registered providers that all staff have been subject to an Access NI disclosure prior to employment, it is sufficient for a provider to maintain an accurate and up to date record of the:

  • unique Access NI reference for certificates
  • date individual disclosures were applied for and received
  • outcome of the registered provider’s consideration of that certificate

Registered persons and others who countersign requests for disclosure information are required to have a written security policy covering the correct handling and safekeeping of disclosure information.


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