Update on Access Northern Ireland checks

October 15th, 2016 by Jonathan Bazely

Northern Ireland Direct Government Services

Access Northern Ireland (AccessNI) have released information about an update to their services. They recently took part in a trial to access criminal record information from other countries. This trial involved criminal record information relating to Dutch and Latvian nationals. During this six month trial 31 applications were submitted to these countries.

From the 3rd October 2016 AccessNI will automatically seek criminal record information from the home counties of EU citizen, from the following countries:

  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Spain

This pilot study has been undertaken with the assistance of the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Record Information (ACRO). It is expected that up to 1,500 applications will be submitted to these countries. This will only apply to those applicants who wish to work with children, and therefore excludes checks for vulnerable adults.

What will the process be?

AccessNI may seek clarification about the role to ensure that it matches the requirements for work with children. They will undertake the normal process, to search UK records that they have access to. Any qualifying applications will be submitted to ACRO who will then contact the appropriate countries. Each country will then advise ACRO directly if additional information is available. If serious offences are found this information will be added to the Police National Computer (PNC), to be added to a Certificate as per the current process. If the conviction is less serious ACRO will apply the Police Act 1997 test for relevancy. Such information may be shown in the ‘police information’ section of the Certificate.

How will this affect the application process?

There may be some delay in retrieving the information from other countries and AccessNI may print a Certificate prior to this information being returned. The expectation is that a new Certificate would be printed if ACRO provide additional information. Should any country fail to deliver results in a timely fashion, AccessNI may decide not to send them applications, and notify Countersignatories accordingly.

Where tracking takes place, such applications may show as ‘with third party’ on the AccessNI website.