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AccessNI checks

AccessNI undertakes basic, standard and enhanced checks. In a check, criminal records and cautions are disclosed appropriate to the level of check. An employer must know the check required for a job or volunteering role. As an individual you can ask and pay for a basic check. Only registered bodies can request standard and enhanced checks.

Spent convictions

If you were found guilty of a criminal offence by a court and did not reoffend for a specified time afterwards, your conviction is considered “spent”. The specified time is the rehabilitation period.

An AccessNI basic check omits spent convictions.

Unspent convictions

If you are still in your rehabilitation period following a criminal conviction, your conviction is considered “unspent”. The conviction could become spent if you don’t reoffend during the rehabilitation period.  Serious offences including murder, robbery, sex crimes and any custodial sentence over two and a half years remain unspent.

Basic check

A basic check discloses an individual’s unspent convictions. A basic check does not give a full criminal history. An employer can ask all job applicants to obtain a basic check during the recruitment process. If a job requires AccessNI clearance to apply, you will need to arrange and pay for the basic check.

Standard check

A standard check discloses an individual’s full criminal history, giving spent and unspent convictions and relevant cautions. An individual cannot apply for a standard check. This check is available for certain occupations and must be requested by an AccessNI-registered organisation. A standard check may be required for certain positions, including:

  • barrister
  • solicitor
  • veterinary surgeon
  • actuary
  • accountant
  • pharmaceutical chemist

From 14 April 2014, filtering applies to AccessNI standard checks.

Enhanced check

An enhanced check discloses an individual’s full criminal history, including spent and unspent convictions, relevant cautions and any other relevant material provided by police. By law employers may be required to obtain an enhanced check before they can employ you to work with children or vulnerable adults. An individual cannot apply for an enhanced check. This check is only available if requested by an AccessNI-registered organisation.

From 14 April 2014, filtering applies to AccessNI enhanced checks.

Criminal records disclosed in AccessNI checks  

Level of check unspent convictions spent* barred lists relevant
police information
caution
basic yes no no no no
standard yes yes no no yes
enhanced yes yes yes yes yes

* includes informed warnings, cautions, details of diversionary youth conferences and convictions.

Filtered checks

A filtered check means information about a minor or old conviction is removed.

AccessNI basic checks:

  • filter cautions and spent convictions

AccessNI standard and enhanced checks disclose:

  • convictions and cautions on the Northern Ireland criminal record database
  • convictions and cautions on the Police National Computer
  • informed warnings
  • details of diversionary youth conferences

Since 14 April 2014 certain cautions and old or minor convictions are removed from AccessNI standard and enhanced certificates. The information will not be disclosed on your certificate but stays on your criminal record.

Serious crimes will always be disclosed in a check, such as violence, sex offending or information relevant to safe guarding and child protection.

To read more about filtered checks and when cautions and convictions will be removed, go to:

Valid checks

Your disclosure certificate is valid during the recruitment process for a specific role or job. Information about your criminal record history is accurate on the day the certificate was issued. A disclosure certificate should not be transferred from one role to another.

Reusing a disclosure certificate

A standard or enhanced disclosure certificate relates to checking an individual for a specific role or job. This ensures that each personal check is exclusive to that role. To maintain strict safeguarding measures in Northern Ireland, disclosure certificates should not be reused or transferred to later roles or jobs.

Employers in England and Wales accept ‘portable’ disclosure certificates from job applicants or volunteers. If an English or Welsh person presents a portable certificate for a post or a volunteering role they are applying for in Northern Ireland, an employer  can still ask them to obtain an appropriate AccessNI check.

Reprinting a disclosure certificate

AccessNI can reprint a disclosure certificate if it is 90 days or less since the original certificate was issued. A reprint is free.

If 90 days have passed a fresh criminal history check will be required for a new disclosure certificate. You or your employer will need to pay for the second check.

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