What is an AccessNI check?
An AccessNI check covers an individual’s criminal history information for people working within Northern Ireland. This check is primarily to help organisations make a safer recruitment decision when employing staff.
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When AccessNI checks are needed
When you apply for certain types of jobs, or some voluntary positions, you may be asked to apply for a criminal history record check. Positions where you might need a check are:
What an AccessNI check includes
An AccessNI check is a criminal history record check which provides different levels of information. They will let an employer know if you have been convicted of a criminal offence or are barred from working with children or other vulnerable groups.
In some cases, a check may also include disclosure of other non-conviction information, sometimes called soft intelligence, if the police consider it is relevant for the purposes of the position being applied for.
If a person was convicted of a criminal offence and afterwards did not re-offend for a specified period, the conviction is spent and in most circumstances they do not need to declare it.
This period is called the rehabilitation period, the length of time depends on the sentence the person got for the original offence. It starts from the date of conviction and ends after a period which is specified in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Order.
A barred list is a list currently held by the Disclosure and Barring Service that provides details of individuals barred from working with vulnerable groups. A check of the barred lists should only be undertaken if the position being applied for is regarded as being in 'regulated activity'. Your employer should be able to advise on this. 'Regulated activity' involves those positions required to have access to children or vulnerable adults, in defined circumstances.
Relevant police information
Relevant police information can include details about attempted prosecutions that were unsuccessful or behaviour that might be indicative of criminal activity. Cautions held against the applicant on the Police National Computer will be disclosed in all three levels of check.
For every application, AccessNI will search the Police National Computer, which contains thecriminal records for England, Wales and Scotland and the Causeway criminal record viewer, which contains Northern Ireland criminal records.
For appropriate enhanced applications, AccessNI will also search the Disclosure and Barring Service's children’s and adults list of those barred from working with children and vulnerable adults. For enhanced disclosures, AccessNI will ask PSNI (and, on occasions, other police forces in the UK) to conduct a soft intelligence search.
What is the Turn around Times for Access NI?
The table below shows the latest times for processing disclosures. Disclosures will reveal an individual's criminal history information.
Current positions with regard to return of certificates:
Type of disclosure
The average delivery time for certificates from receipt of application*
10 days (working days)
10 days (working days)
14 – 22 days (working days)
* Enhanced with any enquiries from AccessNI - 33 days