Criminal records review: terms of reference

Criminal Records Review will examine if criminal records regime strikes the right balance between civil liberties and protecting the public.



The Criminal Records Review will examine whether the criminal records regime strikes the right balance between respecting civil liberties and protecting the public. It is expected to make proposals to scale back the use of systems involving criminal records to common sense levels. The review will include consideration of the following issues:

In phase 1: 

(i) Could the balance between civil liberties and public protection be improved by scaling back the employment vetting systems which involve the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)?

(ii) Where Ministers decide such systems are necessary, could they be made more proportionate and less burdensome?

(iii) Should police intelligence form part of CRB disclosures?

In phase 2: 

1. How should the content of a ‘criminal record’ be defined?

2. Where should criminal records be kept and who should be responsible for managing them?

3. Who should have access to criminal records databases, for what purposes and subject to what controls and checks? To what extent should police intelligence be disclosed?

4. What capacity should individuals have to access, challenge and correct their own criminal records?

5. Could the administration of criminal records be made more straightforward, efficient and cost-effective?

6. Could guidance and information on the operation of the criminal records regime be improved?

7. How effective is the integration of overseas data into the criminal records regime?”

If you or your organisation wish to comment please email the review team at

Published 22 October 2010