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Content assessment appeal process

The process set out below covers an appeal against the assessment of all potentially criminal content categories within the IWF’s remit following:

  • The issue of a notice to remove content or 
  • Access to content (*1)  being blocked through the inclusion of a child sexual abuse related URL on the Child Sexual Abuse Images and Content URL List.

Any party with a legitimate association (*2)  with the content or a potential victim or the victim’s representative, hosting company, publisher or internet consumer who believes they are being prevented from accessing legal content may appeal against the accuracy of an assessment.

If you are unhappy about the IWF’s assessment of content regarding a notice to remove that content, or about the inclusion of a URL on the IWF’s URL List, you can make a complaint here.

The process will be as follows (see flow chart of process here, PDF 69KB):

  1. An IWF Director is made aware of the appeal and a record is created in our system.
  2. The content is re-assessed (This will be undertaken by a suitably trained IWF Manager not involved in the original assessment decision). See Process flow chart.
  3. If the URL is likely to or has triggered a significant risk (*3)  then the URL will be temporarily removed from the IWF URL List.
  4. If the original assessment decision is reversed and the appeal is upheld the appellant is informed and appropriate remedial action is taken i.e. notice to takedown is repealed or URL is removed from the IWF URL List.
  5. If the original assessment decision is not reversed and the appellant wishes to continue their appeal then the content is referred to the relevant lead police agency for assessment.
  6. The Board will be informed whenever an assessment decision is reversed following a referral to the relevant police agency. (It is not possible for the Board to make a decision relating to assessment of images as to do so would require Board members to view content that they are not trained to assess).
  7. The police agency’s decision will be communicated to an IWF Director who will act in accordance with the agency’s assessment. 
  8. The appellant is informed.

(1) Any appellant must within one month of notification of the decision of the lead policy agency give written notice of intention to appeal to IWF.

(2) IWF shall within 5 days acknowledge receipt of notice of intention to appeal.

(3) Within 14 days of receipt of such acknowledgement the applicant is to submit a written statement of case and any evidence upon which reliance is place.

(4) Within 14 days thereafter IWF shall submit a written answer and any evidence upon which reliance is placed.

(5) Within 7 days thereafter the appellant may submit any written observations on the answer.

(6) The appeal tribunal shall have power, whether of its own volition or on written application of either party, to make such direction as may be necessary for the just and expeditious disposal of the appeal.

(7) Within 2 months of the conclusion of the submission of written representations the appeal tribunal shall issue a decision in writing supported by reasons.

(8) The decision of the appeal tribunal shall be final

(*1) Only child sexual abuse content is listed for blocking and the assessment is in accordance with the Sentencing Council Guidelines

(*2) A party affected by the issue of a notice or blocked by the addition of a URL to the IWF URL List

(*3) See IWF URL List Policy and Procedures

To find out about the process for deciding on the listing or non-listing of URLs containing potentially criminal child sexual abuse content please see the IWF URL List Policy and Procedures.

To make a general complaint about our service delivery including the behaviour of our staff please see the our General Complaints Process.

Report here