Latest News

November, 2020

AccessNI ID Checking – Expired Documents

Due to Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions, there continues to be some delays in processing applications and renewal of passports and driving licences.  In response to this AccessNI will temporarily continue to allow the following expired documentation to be accepted for AccessNI identity checking purposes:-

UK Driving licences

A UK driving licence which expires between 1 February and 31 December 2020 will automatically be extended for 11 months. The extension will start from the date a licence is due to expire.  An expired driving licence can be accepted as a form of ID on condition that it falls within the period of extension.

**The extension does not apply to provisional driving licences that expire in this period.  A provision driving licence can be renewed online.**

Irish Driving licences

An Irish driving licence which expired after 1 March 2020 will remain valid for an additional seven months.  An expired driving licence can be accepted as a form of ID on condition that it falls within the period of extension.

In relation to learner permits, those permits which expired between 1 March and 30 June 2020 have all been extended by 4 months and permits expiring between 1 July and 31 October 2020, including those already extended, the validity period of these permits has also been extended by 4 months.  Expired permits can be accepted as a form of ID on condition that it falls within the period of extension.

UK Passports

AccessNI will temporarily allow expired UK passports that are within 6 months of the expiry date to be accepted for AccessNI identity checking purposes.

Irish Passports

Irish passports applications and renewals are still being processed and no extension has been approved for expired licences.  Expired Irish passports cannot be accepted as a form of ID for AccessNI identity checking purposes.

September, 2020

Barred List Check Scheme

AccessNI introduced the Barred List Check (BLC) scheme in March 2020 to allow individuals seeking to work in Regulated Activity in Covid-19 related positions to quickly commence work pending a full Enhanced disclosure check.

Please be advised that the scheme will close at 5pm on 9th September 2020 and that AccessNI will NOT process any of these applications after this date.

The two main reasons for ceasing these checks are:-

  1. There is very little uptake of the scheme at the moment
  2. The current quick turn-around of Enhanced applications negates the   continuing need of the scheme

Should the need arise, the scheme will be introduced again at very short notice to allow employers to benefit from it.

July, 2020


AccessNI understands that, as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown, there are currently some delays in processing applications and renewals for UK passports.   In response to this, AccessNI will temporarily allow expired UK passports that are within 6 months of the expiry date, to continue to be acceptable for AccessNI identity checking purposes.  The applicant must be in possession of the expired passport to use it as an identity document.

Driving Licences

Driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August 2020 have been extended for an additional seven months from the expiry date.

If your driving licence expires between this period, it will automatically be valid for a further seven months under an EU Regulation which came into force on 4 June 2020.

For some drivers this will remove the requirement to have a medical assessment conducted at this difficult time.

Note the extension does not apply to provisional driving licences that expire in this period.  Provisional licence can be renewed online.

July, 2020


Working practices arising from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic have been far reaching, and AccessNI have had to introduce many changes  in double quick time in order to ensure continuity of many services.

One such change is the use of on-line streaming to deliver teaching, training, instruction, etc to children.

Please note: that this type of on-line activity with children is regarded as Regulated Activity if it is carried out frequently (once per week or 4+ times in a 30 day period) and, as such, an Enhanced disclosure with a check of the children’s barred list should be sought.

April 2020


The ARC Disclosure Service – AccessNI Employers Registration & Indemnity Forms – April 2020 V1, is issued in accordance with requirements from AccessNI, following feedback from Compliance Audits with Umbrella Bodies.  The changes ensure that key aspects of the Code of Practice are being applied to organisations who do not have a direct relationship with AccessNI, and in so doing, ensures that the applicants’ rights (within the code of practice) are not being diminished.

The forms are to be completed and returned to ARC along with the following documents 1) a copy of the organisation’s policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders and 2) a copy of the organisation’s policy on secure handling, use, storage and retention of disclosure information.

As part of the review, AccessNI has also requested that all applicants requesting a check, must now be given an AccessNi Disclosure Applicant Information Leaflet by the organisation, prior to them commencing their AccessNI online application.


The ARC PIN & ID Validation forms have been updated in line with AccessNI requirements. Please use the new forms and destroy any saved hard copies  –  ARC PIN Notification and ID Validation Form April 2020

The main change reflected in this update –  ‘AccessNI have received further clarification on the use of the Public Services Card (Ireland) as an acceptable ID document. As AccessNI is not regarded as a ‘Specified Body’ under Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 they confirm this card cannot be used for ID purposes’.

March 2020


Revised filtering rules applied by AccessNI from 16th March 2020.  Filtering is the removal of old and minor convictions and non-court disposals from standard and enhanced certificates before they are issued.

The criminal records filtering scheme in NI, as administered by AccessNI, was introduced in April 2014. In summary, the scheme meant that certain offences on an individual’s criminal record would not be disclosed on an AccessNI standard or enhanced certificate if:-

  • sufficient time had passed for these to no longer be considered as relevant; meaning it would not be proportionate to disclose them;
    – the offence was sufficiently minor to no longer warrant disclosure; and
    – the offence did not attract a period of imprisonment, including suspended sentences.

In 2019, as a result of a legal challenge, the UK Supreme Court, while finding the system of filtering to be lawful, stated that certain aspects of the scheme could not be considered to be proportionate.

As a result of above, the Filtering Scheme in NI has been reviewed, and new arrangements introduced. With effect from 16 March 2020, AccessNI will no longer automatically disclose all convictions where an individual has more than one conviction. Instead, each conviction will be disclosed for a period of 11 years only. After that it will no longer be disclosed except where;
The offence is on the List of Specified Offences. These are the more serious offences that involve violence, sexual misconduct, safeguarding / child protection matters or drugs or The offence attracted a period of imprisonment, including suspended sentences.

Where the conviction occurred when the person was under 18, it will only be disclosed for a period of 5½ years, subject to both 4(a) and (b) above and in addition, all non-court disposals awarded to persons under 18, including those for specified offences will now be subject to consideration by the Independent Reviewer before a certificate is issued. The key difference between this and the current system is that where a person had a non-court disposal in addition to further offences when they were aged over 18, all offences were disclosed without reference to the Independent Reviewer.

Further information can be accessed here


AccessNI has established a fast track system (Emergency Barred List Check) whereby a check of the barred lists can be undertaken quickly for new, temporary staff and volunteer positions related to the Covid-19 crisis.

Please find below a quick summary of points:

  • There are no charges for these types of check, so only our administration fee is payable
  • This check is NOT replacing the normal AccessNI checks, this is to run alongside the present system, as a full AccessNI check MUST still be requested
  • These checks relate specifically to those who are required to work to help deal with the Covid-19 crisis and should not be used for any other type of application
  • These Emergency Checks are relevant to organisations employing staff to work in Nursing Homes, Residential Care Homes, Children’s Homes, Residential Family Centres or Adult Day Care settings
  • The job role must fall within the definition of a regulated activity either for adults or children or both
  • You cannot apply for a check on a barring list that the job role does not apply to
  • You should still obtain proof of identity in line with AccessNI ID checking requirements (you can now use scanned documents or video link to check these providing that original documents are produced on the first day the applicant commences employment)
  • Appropriate supervision must be put in place to safely manage the individual until the full enhanced disclosure check has been obtained
  • If the Emergency Barred List Check does not confirm that the individual is NOT on the relevant barred list(s) then you MUST await further information from AccessNI or the full enhanced disclosure check before employing the person
  • AccessNI will aim to process the Emergency Barred List Check within 24 hours
  • What you need to do to request an Emergency Barred List Check:
    • If you are employing new, temporary or volunteer staff, please submit the PIN notification and ID evidence the applicant has produced to our email address in the normal way
    • In the body of the email please state that an Emergency Barred List Check is required if the job role for the applicant falls within the definition of a regulated activity for either adults, children or both
    • We will then send details to AccessNI
    • We will then contact you with the result of the emergency check

Please note that AccessNI has published guidance in relation to safeguarding issues during the Covid-19 crisis. This guidance is particularly aimed at new community groups that are being established locally to provide support services to neighbours, etc. The guidance can be viewed by following this link.


In light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the need to reduce non-essential social contact, AccessNI has been reviewing their guidance and procedures on checking identity documentation.  AccessNI is content for you to introduce, as a temporary measure, the checking of ID documents using video link (eg Skype) or scanned documents on condition that:

· The LS/CS has a copy of the ID documentation in front of them before they verify the documentation during a video link meeting.
· The copy ID documentation scanned or emailed to the Signatory is of a good, clear quality, and
· The applicant’s original documentation is verified and checked by a Manager on their 1st day of recruitment to ensure it matches the information on the scanned or emailed documentation used to process the AccessNI application.

The above change comes into immediate effect and will continue until such times as AccessNI deems otherwise.


AccessNI obtains information from 13 EU Member States, where nationals of those states seek to work in Northern Ireland with children in regulated activity.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact there may be delays in receiving quick responses from some of the member states.
AccessNI will continue to monitor this and will, where the delays are expected to be in excess of 6 weeks, issue certificates without the EU check being completed.

August 2019


ARC Disclosure Service underwent their scheduled audit with AccessNI during June.  We are pleased to inform our organisations that we are once again ‘Compliant’ to carry out AccessNI checks on your behalf for the next 3 years.  Our ‘AccessNI Compliance Certificate‘ has now been issued.

Following recommendations from AccessNI we have updated our ARC – PIN Notification and ID Validation Form and our ARC – AccessNI Employers Registration forms August 19-1.  These have now been issued to all our organisations carrying out checks with our service.

May 2019

In 2018/19 AccessNI processed 145,900 applications, the largest total ever.  45% of all certificates were issued digitally.

Unfortunately, quite a few applications were rejected due to errors with date of birth, current address details being inaccurate, not all forenames being included on applications and previous surnames are not always included.  We would ask all employers requesting checks on their staff to emphasis the importance of applicants accurately completing their online applications to avoid delays in obtaining results.

April 2019


The ARC PIN & ID Validation forms have been updated in line with AccessNI requirements.  Please use the new forms from Thursday 18th April, 2019 – ARC PIN Notification and ID Validation Form April-2019

ACCESSNI have also updated their guidance on ID checking – Guide to identity checking for AccessNI applications -February 2019  

The main change reflected in this update is the addition of the Irish marriage certificate.

March 2019


From 1st April 2019 AccessNI are changing the fee for their Standard checks.  Currently the fee for a Standard check is £26.00, from and including 1st April, the fee for a Standard check will reduce to £18.00.  Currently, AccessNI do not propose any change to the fee for Enhanced checks.

February 2019


AccessNI has advised us that they will be implementing a new system of application retention and deletion commencing 4th February.  Any application created by an applicant will only have 90 days from creation to counter-signatory by the ARC Disclosure Service.  Therefore, if the applicant has either not forwarded their PIN number to you or you have not checked the necessary applicants ID and submitted your PIN and ID Notification forms to ARC or not responded to any queries raised in relation to the application within 85 days from creation, the application will not be processed.  AccessNI’s system will automatically delete the application and the applicant will need to create a new application and submit the new PIN details to you for onward submission to the ARC Disclosure Service.

September 2018


AccessNI has been advised by ACRO that there is a delay in seeking information about criminal records from Poland.

This means where an applicant is from Poland and applying to work in regulated activity with children there is likely to be a delay of several weeks with the issue of their disclosure certificate. AccessNI is considering a range of options to mitigate the impact of this.  We will provide a further update when available.

July 2018


Access NI has now updated its online application process to include the availability of disclosure certificates by digital means. Access NI will commence issuing digital certificates, for applications received on or after 17th July, 2018 where no information is recorded. Disclosure certificates for applications received before this date will be issued on paper. From 17th July, the default position is that all certificates, for all levels of disclosure, will be issued electronically, provided the application has been submitted via the online portal using an applicant’s NIDA account and the certificate is clear. Certificates that contain criminal history information will continue to be issued through the postal service. read more

Please note:  AccessNI has a clear policy that paper disclosure certificates are not available for applicants from outside the UK, except where information is to be disclosed on a certificate, or the certificate required an Apostille.

May 2018


In-line with new ‘Identity Checking’ arrangements, new forms have been issued. Any old forms prior to April 18 should be destroyed. From 1st May only applications submitted on the new forms will be accepted. The new forms can be downloaded from the link below, together with information on ‘ID checking guidance document (Feb 18)‘ and ‘ID checking – List of acceptable documents (Feb 18)‘. Please view the AccessNI revised Privacy Notice 3 May 2018 to understand how your personal data is used and your rights under GDPR.


AccessNI are continuing to uncover instances of applicants not including ALL names on their applications, this carries with it a significant risk that disclosures will be inaccurate.

Ensuring the applicant for an AccessNI check is who they say they are is a vital part of the disclosure process. If the identity of the applicant has not been verified, then there is an increased risk that accurate criminal history information may not be disclosed, potentially leading to a compromised recruitment decision. It is highly important the applicant includes details of all names when submitting an application. You can view guidance here