AccessNI criminal records checks

Accepting a previously-issued AccessNI check


Ultimately it is for the employer to determine whether to accept a previously-issued AccessNI check. However you should consider the following before making a decision:

  • You should ensure your employee is not on a list of barred persons held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - see work involving children and adults - your obligations. A check issued at some time in the past might not have the most up to date position.
  • The applicant's criminal record or other relevant information may have changed since its issue.
  • The decision made by police to disclose information on an AccessNI check was made based on the position for which the AccessNI check was originally applied for. You cannot assume that no other intelligence would be disclosed for a different position.
  • The position for which the previous check was sought may be different to the position you are recruiting for - this could include whether the appropriate barred list was searched previously.
  • The information revealed was based on the identity of the applicant, which was validated by another Registered Body, at the time that the original check was requested. Therefore, you should ensure that the identity details on the certificate match those of the applicant.

If you are contacted by another organisation about a previously issued AccessNI check, you should not disclose any information in that check without the express permission of the applicant. To do so may be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

AccessNI certificate

The default position for on-line applications is that a disclosure certificate will be issued digitally to the applicant if there is no criminal history information to be disclosed - if information is being disclosed, a paper certificate will be issued by 1st class mail.

The applicant can view and share this digital certificate from their nidirect account. Digital certificates include a watermark which reads 'valid certificate - unless printed' - employers should not, under any circumstances, accept a printed copy of a digital certificate.

Applicants can request a paper AccessNI certificate by checking the appropriate box when completing the on-line application. An AccessNI paper certificate contains a number of security features which can be used to verify whether it has been counterfeited or altered in any way.

The latest AccessNI certificates have the word 'DOCUCHECK' watermarked into the paper on which they are printed.

If you are unsure whether an AccessNI certificate is genuine or if you think that it may have been altered, you should contact the AccessNI Helpline on Tel 0300 200 7888.