Since it was set up in 1995, the National DNA Database (NDNAD) has been run by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). The NDNAD is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998, which requires that personal data should be obtained and used only for "specific purposes" and that processing should be "fair". However, it is unclear exactly what constitutes fair processing of genetic data.
In 2005, the FSS changed status from a trading fund to a Government owned company (GovCo), with a view to possible partial privatisation in the future. The loading of DNA profiles on the National DNA Database and reporting of subsequent matches is still provided under contract by the FSS, but may go out to tender in the future. The standard-setting and oversight of the Database has been transferred to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), and it is governed by the National DNA Database Strategy Board.
DNA samples collected by the police are now analysed by commercial companies, which are also paid to store the samples. You can read about some concerns about this practice here. The following organisations can provide DNA profiles from DNA samples taken from individuals or from crime scenes for the NDNAD*.
- Forensic Science Service,
- LGC Limited
- Orchid Cellmark
- Tayside Police Forensic Science Laboratory
- Forensic Science Northern Ireland (individual samples only)
- Strathclyde Police Forensic Science Laboratory (crime scene samples only)
- Lothian and Borders Police Forensic Science Laboratory (crime scene samples only)
*Written answer to Parliamentary question by Joan Ryan 9th May 2006
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and the National DNA Database Strategy Board
The NPIA oversees delivery of the National DNA Database Service.
The National DNA Database Strategy Board provides governance and oversight of the operation of the NDNAD for the NPIA.
The NPIA published the NDNAD Annual Report covering the two years 2007-09 in September 2009.
The National DNA Database Ethics Group
The National DNA Database Ethics Group was set up in response to criticism of the lack of ethical oversight of the Database. It published its first annual report in 2008; its second annual report in 2009; its third annual report in 2010; its fourth report in 2011; and its fifth report in 2012.
The Forensic Science Regulator
The Forensic Science Regulator was set up following the 2005 recommendations of the Science and Technology Committee.
The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI)
ENFSI's DNA working group publishes reports and recommendations on DNA databases across Europe, including plans to share DNA matches routinely within the EU.