Belfast Telegraph

Minister asks public to be alert when applying for criminal record checks

Stormont Executive press releases - Department of Justice

Justice Minister David Ford has advised the public to exercise caution if offered discounted rates for criminal records checks and to be careful if employers are asking for payment in suspicious circumstances.

The call follows reports from members of the public who have applied, and been asked to pay, for criminal record checks through job advertisements on websites which claim that they can provide such a service at a special discounted rate, the sites claim the rate has been agreed with AccessNI. AccessNI does not offer discounted rates.

The public can find out more information on the service AccessNI provides, including who requires a criminal record check and how much it costs at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/accessni.

David Ford said: “My Department has received a small number of reports recently about members of the public being asked to apply for a basic criminal record check through a potential employer with the suggestion that these can be offered at discounted rates. I want to emphasise that discounted rates are not an option AccessNI offers for disclosures and urges caution when being asked to forward payment in respect of internet job applications. The public should also seek to satisfy themselves about the legitimacy of the employer if they have a suspicion.

“If members of the public have any concerns they should contact the AccessNI Helpline on 0300 200 7888.”

Notes to editors:

1. This is a precautionary alert.

2. AccessNI is liaising with Trading Standards over a possible investigation into posts advertised on linewhich said they required an AccessNI basis criminal record check which could be provided at a discounted rate. Payment was requested.

3. Under the legislation (Section 112 of Part V of the Police Act 1997) any individual can apply for a criminal conviction certification (Basic Disclosure) providing they make an application and pay the agreed fee (£26). A Basic disclosure will show details of all convictions considered to be unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, or state that no such convictions were found

4. AccessNI supplies criminal history information, upon request, to organisations and individuals, primarily to help them make safer recruitment decisions. Some organisations are required by law to consider the suitability of applicants for certain positions or to ensure that they are not barred from working with vulnerable groups.

5. A criminal history check, also known as a disclosure, will search your details against United Kingdom criminal records and other police information and may disclose details of an applicant's criminal history. The checks could include a search of barred lists which are kept by the Westminster government. In Northern Ireland the checks are carried out by AccessNI.

6. The cost of checks is as follows:
· £26 – basic or standard check
· £30 – enhanced check
· £150 - one off registration fee for organisations to use AccessNI services - this includes the processing of registered body details and checks on signatories
· £10 - registration of each counter signatory
· individuals meeting the AccessNI definition of a volunteer may be entitled to a free check.

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