AccessNI umbrella bodies

An umbrella body is an AccessNI-registered organisation. They're authorised by AccessNI to process individuals' information. They send standard and enhanced criminal record checks to AccessNI for employers and organisations. Umbrella bodies can charge fees for their services.

Types of umbrella bodies

An umbrella body can be open or closed.


An open umbrella body provides disclosure services to different types of organisations.  Employers and organisations in different regions use an open umbrella body. 


A closed umbrella body only provides disclosure services to one sector or in one geographical area.  

What an umbrella body does

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 umbrella bodies 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 body fees

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 needs standard or enhanced criminal checks for staff or volunteers, they must register with AccessNI or use an umbrella body.

An employer uses an umbrella body because:

  • they need less than 20 criminal record checks each year
  • they don’t want to pay £195  registration fee
  • they don’t want to wait four weeks to be registered by AccessNI
  • they don’t want to follow AccessNI’s code of practice or have 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 applicants and AccessNI how much they charge for their application service if they charge
  • 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 list 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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