Disputing an AccessNI certificate

If you think there’s information on your certificate that shouldn’t be there or is incorrect, you can raise a dispute with AccessNI. You can do this yourself or ask someone to do it on your behalf. How your dispute is handled will depend on the level of criminal record check and what information you are disputing.

Disputing personal information

If your dispute is about incorrect personal information on your certificate, such as an incorrect title (Mr instead of Mrs), misspelling of your name or incorrect address, you should contact AccessNI by email or letter, including:

  • 'dispute' as a reference or as the email subject
  • your name, address and personal details
  • certificate reference number
  • as much information about the error as possible

Once received, AccessNI will review your certificate and check your application. If the mistake was caused by AccessNI, they will issue an accurate certificate to you free of charge.

If the mistake is found to have come from incorrect information you, your employer or the organisation that submitted the application provided, a new disclosure application along with the correct fee will be required to get a new certificate.

Disputing police information on an enhanced certificate

If you think that the police information on an enhanced certificate is incorrect, shouldn’t have been disclosed, or isn’t relevant to the job or position you’re applying for, you can raise a dispute by completing the AccessNI certificate dispute form.

You should include as much information about your dispute as you can. You should also mention on the form if you have already spoken to the police about police information on your certificate.

You can ask someone to help you with completing the form. If they are a solicitor or other professional person they should also complete their details on the form.

You must raise a dispute within 90 days of the certificate being issued by AccessNI

Once received, AccessNI will review your dispute and, if necessary, work with the police to come to a decision.

If you have disputed the certificate because you feel the information shouldn’t be there or isn’t relevant, AccessNI will ask the police to review their decision. If the police agree that the information should not be there, AccessNI will re-issue your certificate free of charge.

If the police believe that the information should still be there, but that their disclosure should be worded differently, they will contact you. If you agree with the revised wording, AccessNI will re-issue your certificate free of charge. 

Independent Monitor 

If you don't agree with the police decision, AccessNI will send your dispute to the Independent Monitor for review.

You must raise a dispute with AccessNI before it can be referred to the Independent Monitor.

The Independent Monitor will consider your case carefully. This includes asking the police:

  • to review your dispute again
  • for information they have considered as part of their decision to disclose
  • the reason why this information was put on your enhanced certificate

Once your case has been reviewed, the Independent Monitor will decide whether the police information should stay the same, be amended or be removed.

If the Independent Monitor decides that the information should be amended or removed AccessNI will re-issue your certificate free of charge. 

If the Independent Monitor decides that the police information should not be amended or removed, AccessNI will tell you about this decision and your certificate will not be changed. 

The Independent Monitor's decision on your case is final. You will not be able to appeal the decision.

You can however apply for a judicial review through the courts if you still feel that both the police and the Independent Monitor have made the wrong decision. You will probably need to speak to a solicitor or other legal adviser about this.

Disputing criminal record information on a standard or enhanced certificate

If you feel that the criminal record information disclosed on a standard or enhanced certificate shouldn’t be there or isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for, you can ask for the certificate to be reviewed by the Independent Reviewer.

The Independent Reviewer can only consider criminal record information on the certificate that is ‘spent’. A spent conviction is when you were found guilty of a criminal offence by the court but did not reoffend for a specified time after your conviction. Find out more about spent convictions and other types of criminal record information.

To ask for a review of criminal record information you must complete the AccessNI certificate dispute form online

You can ask someone to help you with completing the form. If they are a solicitor or other professional person they should also complete their details on the form.

You must ask for a review within 90 days of the certificate being issued by AccessNI

The Independent Reviewer will review the offences on your certificate and the information you have provided in the dispute form carefully. They may ask for further information about your criminal record from the police,  probation board, or the Youth Justice Agency.

Once the reviewer has considered all the relevant information a decision will be made to either:

  • uphold the decision to disclose your criminal record information on the certificate
  • disclose some but not all of your criminal record information
  • no longer disclose any of your criminal record information

Once the Independent Reviewer has made a decision, you will receive a letter to explain what action  has been taken and why.  If some or all of the criminal record information on your original certificate is no longer to be disclosed, AccessNI will issue you with a new certificate free of charge.

The Independent Reviewer’s decision on your case is final. You will not be able to appeal the decision.

You can, however, apply for a judicial review through the courts if you still feel that both the police and the Independent Reviewer have made the wrong decision. You will probably need to speak to a solicitor or other legal adviser about this.

Find out more about the Independent Reviewer and the Statutory Guidance.

Resolving a dispute

AccessNI aim to respond to 95 per cent of all disputes within 14 calendar days. However, disputes about police and criminal record information may take longer.

Sometimes police may require fingerprints from the applicant to resolve a dispute. Anyone who is asked to provide fingerprints for identification purposes will be informed by AccessNI of the process.

Share this page

Feedback

Would you like to leave feedback about this page? Send us your feedback