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AccessNI employers

During recruitment, an employer can ask job applicants or volunteers to obtain an AccessNI basic check to disclose unspent convictions. Employers in certain professions or types of work must obtain standard or enhanced checks for their employees and volunteers. When these employers recruit for specific jobs, they are legally entitled to ask about your spent convictions.  

AccessNI checks and an employer’s legal requirements

An employer is responsible for knowing when basic, standard or enhanced checks are required for jobs or volunteer roles. There are legal obligations for employers when they recruit.

When asking job applicants about spent and unspent convictions, employers must comply with the law on rehabilitation of offenders.

Exempt information

In most cases, you don’t need to declare a spent conviction to an employer. But some employers are exempt from this rule. They can ask job applicants or volunteers to apply for an AccessNI check which will reveal spent convictions.

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order (NI) employers and licensors can ask applicants exempted questions for specific roles.  

AccessNI basic check

A basic check discloses an individual’s unspent convictions.

AccessNI standard check

A standard check discloses an individual’s full criminal record, including spent and unspent convictions.

AccessNI enhanced check

An enhanced check discloses an individual’s full criminal history including spent and unspent convictions, cautions and any other information that the police consider might be relevant to the job or position.

An employer in regulated activity must obtain an enhanced check for every role. An employer can refuse to employ someone who does not agree to an AccessNI enhanced check.

Applying for a standard or enhanced check

Registered bodies are AccessNI-approved organisations. Only these organisations are authorised to submit applications for standard and enhanced checks. A registered body is:

  • an employer, organisation or licensor
  • an umbrella body -  an organisation which processes criminal record checks on behalf of
    non-registered organisations

Registered bodies must comply with AccessNI’s code of practice.

Code of practice for registered bodies

The code explains obligations for registered bodies managing standard and enhanced checks. The code ensures that information released in standard and enhanced checks is:

To reassure people undergoing personal checks, registered bodies  must sign a policy statement which confirms they comply with AccessNI’s code of practice.

AccessNI audits registered bodies to ensure they comply with the code of practice.

Employers who receive disclosure certificates must comply with data protection rules.

Summary of AccessNI checks

Nature of work Legal obligation Check

Working beyond the passenger security check in an airport

(for example, as an airport employee, in a shop or on the runways)

Department for Transport Regulations basic
Working in a care or residential home with adults DHSSPS standards enhanced
Working in domiciliary care with adults DHSSPS standards enhanced
Working in a day care setting with children and childminding DHSSPS standards enhanced
Taxi driving licence Road Traffic (NI) Order 1981 enhanced, without a barred list check
Fostering of children Childrens Act 1989 or Childrens(NI) Order 1987 enhanced
Adoption of children Adoption (NI) Order 1987 enhanced


For some jobs, employers  require an AccessNI check  in the terms and conditions of employment.

Nature of work Type of check
Posts in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and certain other public bodies basic
Working within the security guarding industry

standard*

*The Security Industry Authority sponsors this


Rechecking staff

Employers can recheck their staff. Each employer decides intervals for rechecking.  Some employers recheck every two or three years. Others rely on employees declaring any changes to their criminal records.

Can an applicant be given a job if convictions are disclosed?

Unless there is a bar, a conviction should not automatically disqualify an individual. An employer should consider if a conviction is relevant to the post.

Sometimes the applicant is committing an offence by applying for the post. An individual on one or both of DBS’s barred lists is breaking the law if they apply to work in regulated activity.

Complaining about information on a disclosure certificate

If you disagree with information on your certificate, you must write to AccessNI.and raise the complaint as a dispute.

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