Appointment of Independent Reviewer of Criminal Record Certificates

Date published: 29 March 2019

The Department of Justice has announced the appointment of Caroline Conway as Independent Reviewer of Criminal Record Certificates from 1 April 2019.

This is a public appointment, regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI). The appointment is for a period of three years and may be further extended. The role attracts an annual salary of £13,152.

The Independent Reviewer can review criminal record information disclosed by AccessNI on Standard or Enhanced checks. 

Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK to provide screening of criminal record information through an Independent Reviewer.

Peter May, Permanent Secretary, Department of Justice, said: “Caroline Conway will play a key role in balancing the disclosure of sensitive personal information in the form of a criminal record, so that unsuitable persons are not appointed to positions working with children and vulnerable adults, against an individual’s right to privacy. 

“In this way the Department continues to provide information to assist in the protection of the community but also ensures that older and minor criminal offences don’t blight a person’s life forever.

“I congratulate Caroline Conway on her appointment and wish her every success in this important role.”

Paying tribute to the outgoing Independent Reviewer, Peter May said: "Simon Pountain has made a tremendous contribution in working closely with AccessNI to initially establish the unique post of Independent Reviewer in Northern Ireland and subsequently developing it to the position it has now.  Simon was instrumental in setting high standards of service and in conducting his duties rigorously in line with the legislation.  I am very grateful to him and wish him well for the future.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The role of the Independent Reviewer (IR) of Criminal Record Certificates was established through implementation of section 41 of the Justice (NI) Act 2015 and the specific details of the role are set out in Schedule 4 of the same Act.  This appointment is unique to Northern Ireland in that no similar role exists in either of the other two UK disclosure services, (Disclosure and Barring Service and Disclosure Scotland). 
     
  2. The appointment will be effective from 1 April 2019.  Annual gross remuneration for the Independent Reviewer is £548 daily up to a maximum of 24 days annually and will be reimbursed monthly. 
     
  3. Caroline Conway graduated from Queens University Belfast in 2001 with a degree in Law and Accounts and was later added to the Roll of Solicitors of Northern Ireland in 2003. She developed a strong interest in criminal law and advocacy which prompted a move to the PSNI in 2004 were she worked as a prosecutor for two years before subsequently moving to the Public Prosecution Service in 2006. She has worked in the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service for 13 years as a Public Prosecutor specialising in criminal advocacy.
     
  4. The Department of Justice is committed to the principles of public appointments based on merit with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process.  The Department is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all.
     
  5. It should be noted that all appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointee’s to be published. On this occasion no political activity is declared.
     
  6. Further information about the role of the Independent Reviewer and previous annual reports can be found at Justice/Accessni
     
  7. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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