Before you register
Carrying out criminal records checks is just one part of a safer recruitment policy. For this reason, we only provide Disclosure Services to organisations that hold a current annual membership with us. Information on membership and how to join can be found here.
There are three important steps an organisation must complete before registering with our Disclosure service
- Commit to following safer recruitment policies and procedures of which AccessNI checks is a part.
- Comply with all policies laid down by the AccessNI, including their Code of Practice, Equal Opportunities policies and those relating to the handling of criminal records information.
- Agree to our thirtyone:eight terms of service
1. Safer recruitment policies and procedures
An AccessNI check is only part (albeit an essential one) of a safer recruitment process. This process is crucial in preventing unsuitable or dangerous individuals gaining access to vulnerable groups. It includes the completion of a job application form, a self-declaration form, an interview, taking up references and a check as well as the applicant’s agreement to abide by the organisation’s safeguarding policy. Operating a safer recruitment policy sends a powerful message to parents, children, visitors, as well as those intent on harm, that safeguarding is taken seriously in the organisation.
However, it is important to stress to applicants that having a criminal record should not necessarily bar the person from being appointed unless children or vulnerable adults would be put at risk. The scope of an AccessNI check must be explained to applicants, including the fact that strict confidentiality is observed. Information relating to the Rehabilitation of Offenders and Safe Storage policies should be made available for applicants to see. Importantly, individuals should also be asked to complete an application form and a self-declaration form before a check is applied for. This gives a person the opportunity to discuss any past issues which could emerge in a check. In such circumstances advice can be given on whether or not information would prevent someone working with children or vulnerable adults. Where there is a ‘blemished’ disclosure, the information given by the applicant in a self-declaration can in some cases help in determining the outcome (for example, in assessing their honesty). If a past conviction is revealed on a certificate, we strongly advise that the Recruiter contact us so we can give advice in order to reach the appropriate employment decision.
Full details of the Safer Recruitment process can be found here.
2. Comply with AccessNI policy
As an organisation you must agree to formally adopt a policy on the fair treatment of all applicants. Our model Equal Opportunities Statement (Northern Ireland) can be a good place to start.
An organisation must also adopt a policy on the handling and safe keeping of information (Northern Ireland) and agree to work within the AccessNI Code of Practice. These documents should be formally adopted and kept securely. The DBS expectations have the force of law, which means that if AccessNI policies are not complied with, applicants might have a valid case for formal complaint.
We will register an organisation if it is still working on these documents at the point application is made to join our service; however, they must have been formally adopted and available to applicants before the Recruiter begins to process checks for workers.
3. Agree to our terms and AccessNI Terms
The purpose of this agreement between thirtyone:eight and your organisation is to set out the terms under which both parties will agree to comply when handling personal information during the AccessNI disclosure process. This agreement is made on the date your complete registration form is received by thirtyone:eight and will commence at the same time. Unless the Agreement is specifically amended, altered or withdrawn it will be automatically agreed to have rolled over on the 1st April each year.
Umbrella Bodies cannot take a recruitment decision on the basis of information contained on a Disclosure Certificate unless the applicant will be directly working for the Umbrella Body. This Agreement recognises that AccessNI provides one copy only of a Disclosure Certificate to the applicant. However, the on-line case tracking system enables [Umbrella Body name] to know when a Disclosure Certificate has been issued and whether there is any information in that Certificate. Thirtyone:eight will provide relevant information to your organisation. Thirtyone:eight will record details that their part of the process is complete.
The terms of this agreement shall not be varied or amended unless agreed to and confirmed in writing by authorised representatives of thirtyone:eight and your organisation or AccessNI. AccessNI may, given appropriate notice, withdraw an organisations designation of Umbrella Body or request they do not offer their service to 3rd parties.
This agreement is based on the following assumptions:
- An employer / organisation has approached thirtyone:eight to assist with the processing of an AccessNI disclosure applications
- The employer / organisation requires Standard or Enhanced disclosures for individuals who they may seek to recruit
- The Umbrella Body / employer has established that there is a legal entitlement to request Standard / Enhanced disclosures from AccessNI
- If a charge is applicable for the Disclosure, both parties to this SLA will have agreed the means by which payment will be made, prior to submitting a disclosure to AccessNI
- It is understood that AccessNI will only issue an invoice to the Umbrella Body
- All disclosure applications will be submitted to AccessNI via the NI Direct on-line portal
- That the information supplied in Disclosure Application is correct.
Roles & Responsibilities
Thirtyone:eight as an Umbrella Body will;
- Make available the AccessNI Code of Practice (May 2018) to the employer
- Ensure there is a legal entitlement for the type of disclosure requested by the applicant
- Assist organisations through the AccessNI Disclosure process, including providing the appropriate personal identification number (PIN) for applicants to enable them to use the on-line application process
- Ensure Disclosure Applications are countersigned properly
- Verify the Identity of applicants per AccessNI guidance, or ensure the ID validation form is completed by client organisations.
- Retain the ID validation form (if applicable) and a copy of the ID documentation for at least 90 days after the disclosure certificate has issued
- Be first point of contact with AccessNI on matters relating to Disclosure Applications submitted through them
- Gather any additional information AccessNI request by either directly contacting client organisations or the applicant
- Notify client organisations that a Disclosure Certificate has been issued by AccessNI; and there is no information on the Disclosure Certificate; or information has been disclosed on the Disclosure Certificate. Where information has been disclosed the Umbrella Body should advise the employer to ask the applicant to provide that employer with their copy of the Disclosure Certificate in order to view the information and progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.
- Advise the employer to ensure that on sight of a Disclosure Certificate containing information they handle such information in line with the AccessNI Code of Practice and the Data Protection Act 2018
- Provide client organisations with guidance on secure handling and storage of information
- Monitor client organisations are complying with AccessNI Code of Practice.
In joining thirtyone:eight as a client organisation we will;
- Provide any information requested by thirtyone:eight to provide assurance that the position applied for meets the necessary legal entitlements for the type of Disclosure requested
- Ensure that the appropriate personal identification number (PIN) is supplied to the applicant to complete the on-line application form
- Use the on-line application process on the NI Direct portal to submit applications to AccessNI
- Undertake the appropriate identity checks on applicants and complete the Validation Form
- Return completed Validation Forms to thirtyone:eight along with a copy of the ID documents
- Agree that only staff authorised by thirtyone:eight as Recruiters will undertake the checking of Applicants identification documents
- Comply with provisions set out in AccessNI Code of Practice
- Ensure the information on Disclosure Certificates provided by applicants is retained in a secure manner, accessible only by those with authority to see them. Details of non-court convictions, convictions, police information or barred list information should not be retained after the recruitment decision is made
- Ensure that Disclosure information is not passed to persons not authorised to receive it
- Comply with recommendations made by the Umbrella Body
- Issue all applicants with a copy of the Applicant Information Leaflet
- Complete and return to thirtyone:eight the SLA checklist form (Annex C) along with a copy of your policy on Recruitment of ex-offenders and Secure handling, use, storage and retention of disclosure information.
- Work with Thirtyone:eight exclusively as an umbrella organisation for the ANI unless required to use the services of a regulatory authority (for example OFSTED) in relation to certain specific activities. Where this happens, Thirtyone:eight must be informed and be given the necessary contact details of the other umbrella organisation involved
- Inform Thirtyone:eight immediately of any breach of confidentiality or other requirement of the ANI. In such circumstances, the church/organisation understands that the Thirtyone:eight would be required to inform the ANI of the situation.
- Meet the agreed Thirtyone:eight charges for the service.
- Cooperate with Thirtyone:eight enquiries, investigations or compliance visits which may be required as an umbrella body.
- Terminate these arrangements by giving notice in writing.
- Notify Thirtyone:eight immediately in the event of changes that materially affect the ability of your church/organisation to meet any of these requirements.
- If the organisation is transferring to another umbrella body, a letter of resignation should be sent to Thirtyone:eight giving details of the new umbrella body and proposed date of transfer in order to meet ANI requirements.
- Complete and return to the thirtyone:eight the SLA checklist form
Authorisation and Agreement
By signing and completing the AccessNI Disclosure Registration form and/or SLA checklist and submitting this to thirtyone:eight you are agreeing to comply with the details on this webpage.