About us

What we do

The National DNA Database Ethics Group provides independent advice on ethical issues surrounding the operations of the database to Home Office ministers and the National DNA Database Strategy Board.

The application of quality standards is important to national forensic science intelligence databases. Of particular importance is the NDNAD, which is administered by the Home Office and governed by the NDNAD strategy board.

The National DNA Database Ethics Group is an advisory non-departmental public body.

Responsibilities

The NDNAD Ethics Group provides independent ethical advice on the operations of the National DNA Database.

The Ethics Group was not set up by statute and thus does not have statutory/legal functions or obligations. It instead has an advisory role, and submits a report to Home Office ministers each year. Its role is to undertake inquiries:

Priorities

Our priorities are to:

  • advise on the implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • monitor, advise, and review the implementation of the deletion of profiles from the NDNAD
  • provide ethical advice on elimination databases
  • ensure all police and supplier databases containing DNA information are subject to robust governance requirements.
  • provide support and advice on ethical matters to the Biometrics Commissioner and others as required
  • continue to monitor the various agreements, including the Prüm Treaty, for the international exchange of DNA data and the use of the NDNAD
  • monitor developments on crime scene DNA testing and other new technology
  • continue to monitor the treatment of children and young people in relation to DNA sampling and retention with a view to ensuring that they are safeguarded and that their distinct rights are recognised
  • continue to monitor and assess potential disproportionate or discriminatory effects of the use and operation of the NDNAD may have on ethnic minority groups and vulnerable people
  • support the NDNAD Strategy Board in developing more transparent, ethical and user friendly information about the forensic use of DNA and the database

Who we are

The National DNA Database Ethics Group comprises of members from different disciplines and professions led by an independent chair.

It is supported by a small secretariat within Home Office Science in the Home Office.

Terms of reference

These are the current terms of reference, which explain the remit and operation of the group. They also cover the requirements for reporting and for the conduct of the group. They are likely to change when the triennial review makes its final recommendations.

NDNAD ethics group: terms of reference (PDF, 26.2KB, 4 pages)

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