If you apply for certain jobs or voluntary positions, an employer will ask you for an AccessNI check to disclose your criminal history. The employer will tell you when a basic, standard or enhanced check is necessary. You can apply for a basic check yourself. Only an employer registered with AccessNI can apply for standard and enhanced checks.
When will an employer require an AccessNI check?
Employers are responsible for knowing when a job or volunteering role requires an AccessNI check. There are three levels of check.
If you’re self employed
You can only apply for a basic check. You cannot obtain a standard or enhanced check because these checks must be submitted through a registered body.
Only a registered body can verify compliance with legal processes about disclosing the requested information.
If you’re a volunteer
You can apply for a basic check. The fee is £26 which you or the voluntary organisation must pay.
If you’re a volunteer in a role which requires a standard or enhanced check, AccessNI will provide the check free to a volunteer who:
“gives their time in a position in a non-profit organisation, free of charge, doing something for the good of the community or a voluntary group, for which they may get travelling and other out-of-pocket expenses, and which is not for their own benefit or for the benefit of a close relative.”
AccessNI charges for a standard or enhanced check if:
- you are volunteering directly for a statutory organisation
- you are volunteering for a non-profit organisation in a position which delivers statutory services under contract or in a specific project, where that organisation receives government funding to pay for volunteers’ checks
A statutory organisation is an agency established by government. A not-for-profit organisation is a non-governmental body which does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders.
Applying for an AccessNI check
To apply for a basic check you must:
- complete a basic application form
- provide original documents to the police or your employer to verify your identity
- pay £26 if your employer isn’t paying
- return the form and fee to AccessNI or your employer
To obtain a standard check for you, your employer will apply as a registered body or use an umbrella body. They will give you a standard application form. You must:
- complete a standard application form
- provide original documents to verify your identity
- return the form and fee (£26 if required) to your employer
To obtain an enhanced check, your employer will apply as a registered body or use an umbrella body. They will give you an enhanced application form. You must:
- complete an enhanced application form
- provide documents to verify your identity
- return the form and fee (£33 if required) to your employer
AccessNI has a special application process for transgender people who don't want to disclose their previous gender and names to the organisation requiring the disclosure.
If you are transgender and want advice about job applications where an AccessNI check is required, or you need help completing the AccessNI application form, you should contact AccessNI’s Operations Manager:
- telephone: 0300 200 7888
When AccessNI searches and checks your criminal history, they provide a disclosure certificate with any criminal records. Unspent convictions appear on a basic disclosure certificate. Cautions, spent and unspent convictions appear on a standard or enhanced certificate. A clean criminal history is described as “no information found”.
Only you will receive a basic disclosure certificate. Your and your employer will receive a copy of the standard and enhanced disclosure certificates.
Complaining about information on your disclosure certificate
If you believe information is inaccurate on your disclosure certificate, you can write to AccessNI and dispute the information disclosed.