Skip to content

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. Find out what information is disclosed with each level of check.

Basic check

A basic AccessNI check contains details of all unspent convictions or will state that no such convictions were found.

Any individual can apply for a basic check. An employer can ask all job applicants to apply for a basic check during the recruitment process.

Standard check

A standard check discloses an individual’s criminal record, giving:

  • spent and unspent convictions
  • informed warnings and other non-court disposals from the Police National Computer

Some old and minor convictions and non-court disposals on a criminal record may not be disclosed. Fixed penalty tickets and parking fines will not be included in a standard check.

Standard checks are only available where the position or role in question is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order 1978. They are not suitable for roles working with children and./ or vulnerable adults

An individual cannot apply for a standard check. An application for a standard check must be counter-signed by an AccessNI registered organisation.

You must be 16 years of age or older to get a standard check.

Enhanced check

An enhanced check discloses an individual’s full criminal record, giving:

  • spent and unspent convictions from the Police National Computer
  • cautions, informed warnings and other non-court disposals from the Police National Computer
  • information held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (for positions in regulated activity)
  • information held by the police that is relevant to the role applied for

Some old and minor convictions and non-court disposals on a criminal record may be filtered. Fixed penalty tickets or parking fines will not be included in an enhanced check.

Enhanced checks are normally required where the applicant will work or volunteer in a role providing services to or having close and regular supervision of children and / or vulnerable adults.  

An individual cannot apply for an enhanced check. An application for an enhanced check must be counter-signed by an AccessNI registered organisation.

You must be 16 years or over of age to get an enhanced check.  The only exception is for family members of an applicant, under 16, where the applicant is registering as a childminder or is seeking to adopt or foster a child.

Apply for an AccessNI check

Find out what information you need to apply for an AccessNI check and complete the application at the following nidirect page.

Information disclosed in AccessNI checks

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

Unspent convictions

If you are still in your rehabilitation period following a criminal conviction, your conviction is “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 stay unspent.

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. This applies to informed warnings, cautions, details of diversionary youth conferences and convictions.

An AccessNI basic check does not include spent convictions.

Barred list checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service keeps two barred lists:

  • people who are unsuitable for working with children
  • people who are unsuitable for working with vulnerable adults

People on these lists are barred from regulated activity with children and vulnerable adults. It is a criminal offence for someone on these lists to work or apply to work in regulated activity.

For more information about regulated activities, including a list of roles which are regulated, see the following nidirect page:

Relevant police information

An enhanced check can disclose non-conviction information or ’soft intelligence’ if the police reasonably believe it is relevant to the role you’re applying for and that it should to be disclosed. This could be an incident which did not go to court or information about an ongoing police investigation.

If police disclose information on your certificate and you consider it was not relevant or it should not have been disclosed you can apply to have the disclsoure reviewed by the Independent Monitor. You can find out more at the link below.

Home based occupations

A home based occupation is when an applicant:

  • carries out some or all of their work with children or adults in their home
  • lives with someone who is being, or has been AccessNI checked because they work with children or carry out some or all of their work from home

Here are some examples of home based occupations:

  • teaching, training, instruction, guidance, supervision, care or healthcare of children
  • childminding, fostering or adoption of children
  • healthcare, personal care or social work for adults

Working and living at any of the following places is also considered to be a home based occupation:

  • schools or any educational institution providing full time education to children
  • further education colleges for 16 - 19 year olds
  • institutions for the detention of children
  • children’s homes, nursery schools or centres for children

When completing an application for an enhanced check, registered bodies must indicate if a position is a home based occupation.

Filtered checks

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

AccessNI basic checks filter cautions and spent convictions. Certain cautions and old or minor convictions are removed from AccessNI standard and enhanced certificates. 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 about filtered checks and when cautions and convictions will be removed, go to:

More useful links