AccessNI umbrella bodies

An umbrella body is an AccessNI registered body which submits standard and enhanced criminal record checks for employers and organisations. AccessNI authorises umbrella bodies to provide these services to organisations.

Types of umbrella bodies

An organisation has the option to become an open or closed umbrella body. 


An open umbrella body will assist a wide range of organisations (from a variety of sectors and geographical localities) through the disclosure process.  


A closed umbrella body will only provide assistance with disclosure checks to a very narrow sector or geographical area.  

Services umbrella bodies offer

Umbrella bodies make and manage AccessNI check applications for employers. Their services include:

  • processing, submitting and receiving AccessNI checks on an employer's behalf
  • identity checking by reviewing an applicant’s passport or driving licence and proof of address
  • tracking an application
  • explaining legislation such as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Order
  • explaining criminal convictions

Some only provide services to employers and organisations in specific sectors. There are umbrella bodies for nine sectors:

  • community
  • education
  • health
  • private/commercial
  • recruitment
  • religious
  • social services
  • sport
  • voluntary

Umbrella bodies usually charge for the services they provide. Their fee is additional to AccessNI’s fee for a disclosure check.

Using an umbrella body

When an employer requires standard or enhanced criminal checks, they must either register with AccessNI or use an umbrella body.

An employer uses an umbrella body because:

  • they require less than 20 criminal record checks each year
  • they don’t want to pay £150 registration fee
  • they don’t want to wait four weeks to be registered by AccessNI
  • they don’t want to have to keep to AccessNI’s code of practice or undergo compliance audits

Employers who use an umbrella body to apply for standard or enhanced checks must:

  • keep to the umbrella body’s application process
  • adhere to the umbrella body’s safe practices, required by AccessNI’s compliance procedures which could involve signing  the umbrella body’s service level agreement
  • understand that this could delay their recruitment timescales

AccessNI has provided a pro-forma Service Level Agreements, which can be used umbrella bodies and employers using their services:

Download the AccessNI Service Level Agreement template.

Umbrella body obligations

A registered body that wants to become an umbrella body must:

  • keep to AccessNI’s guidelines including the code of practice
  • tell customers and AccessNI if they charge for their application service and the cost of the service
  • be responsible for processing any information which they give to the employer or organisation requiring the check
  • provide their contact and business details for  AccessNI’s database of umbrella bodies

Apply to become an umbrella body

A registered body can apply to become an umbrella body at any time by contacting AccessNI.

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