As a governing body, the Irish FA recognises its responsibility to support all football clubs and affiliated bodies to recruit and select suitable volunteers and coaches.
The Irish FA acts as an umbrella body for Access NI overseeing vetting checks for all volunteers from affiliated bodies and football clubs who are engaging in a regulated activity.
What is an enhanced Access NI check?
An AccessNI check is a criminal history record check which provides different levels of information.
An enhanced check discloses an individual’s full criminal record, giving:
- spent and unspent convictions from the Police National Computer
- cautions, informed warnings and other non-court disposals from the Police National Computer
- information held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (for positions in regulated activity)
- information held by the police that is relevant to the role applied for
Some old and minor convictions and non-court disposals on a criminal record may be filtered. Fixed penalty tickets or parking fines aren't included in an enhanced check.
Enhanced checks are normally required where the applicant will work or volunteer in a role providing services to or having close and regular supervision of children or vulnerable adults.
An individual cannot apply for an enhanced check. An application for an enhanced check must be counter-signed by an AccessNI-registered organisation.
If you are seeking to work/volunteer on behalf of a club that has affiliated to any Irish FA games programme you are required to complete an Enhanced Disclosure Check against the Children’s and/or Adults Barred list.
This will let the Irish FA know if you have been convicted of a criminal offence or are barred from working with children or other vulnerable groups.
If you are 16 years old or over and are engaged in a Regulated Activity you should to complete an Enhanced Disclosure Check.
In relation to working with children (any person under 18) as a youth football coach, Regulated Activity is defined as:
(i) Unsupervised activities such as teaching, training/instructing, caring for, supervising children, or providing advice/guidance on well-being or driving a vehicle only for children.
(ii) Includes work in a limited range of “specified places” where there is opportunity for contact with children e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises, a children’s hospital. It does not include supervised volunteers
(iii) Includes relevant personal care (e.g. washing or dressing) or healthcare by or directed/supervised by a health professional
(iv) Includes registered childminding and foster care
An Enhanced Disclosure check can only be applied for if the role is performed on a regular basis
How often should I make an Access NI application?
Applications should be renewed every 3 years. If your role is transferred to another club or affiliated body within that period a new application should be made.
Clubs/Affiliated Bodies should request an Access NI check for any new volunteers/coaches.
How do you apply for an Access NI check?
An AccessNI check is only one part of the safe recruitment process that your club should adopt.
Your club welfare officer should provide you with an application form for an Enhanced Disclosure Check.
This application contains the following:
- A declaration that you meet the criteria for an enhanced disclosure check (as a youth football coach)
- Confirmation that you are not barred from working in Regulated Activity
- An online registration with AccessNI
- An identity check
You should complete this form in full and return it to your Club Welfare Officer along with appropriate identification.
Your welfare officer will verify the ID check and submit the application form to the Irish FA.
What happens after I submit my application?
There are three outcomes to an Enhanced Disclosure Check.
(i) Nothing to disclose – indicates that the applicant has no history of offending. The Irish FA will inform the Welfare Officer of this outcome by e-mail.
Applicants will receive an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate directly from Access NI.
(ii) Information disclosed – indicates there are previous convictions or information that should be made available to the Irish FA for risk assessment.
Applicants will receive an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate directly from Access NI. Should an applicant agree to engage in the assessment process, the original certificate should be shared with the Irish FA.
Applicants may be required to provide additional information relating to the disclosure certificate. This risk assessment may be shared with your club welfare officer.
Should you wish to dispute or appeal against the information disclosed by AccessNI you should contact them directly following the process outlined on your disclosure certificate.
(iii) Further information required – there are occasions when Access NI require additional information to process the appropriate check. This information should be provided at the earliest opportunity to either the Irish FA or Access NI when requested.