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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Former offenders

employing ex-prisoners

What you need to know


Applications from former offenders

The basic principles for promoting equality of opportunity in employment are that you should develop recruitment and selection procedures that are systematic, fair and objective, and apply them fairly and consistently to every job applicant.


These basic principles also apply to persons who have criminal convictions and who have not reoffended; with some exceptions in respect of certain occupations.

Seeking information about criminal history

In Northern Ireland there is an official Criminal History Disclosure Service operated by the Department of Justice and is named AccessNI

AccessNI is the official source of information and guidance about the legal duties that you must comply with in relation to employing former offenders. AccessNI has produced a code of practice (pdf) for employers and other recipients of disclosed information.


Conflict-related convictions

In addition to the general guidance issued by AccessNI, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister has published guidance for employers in relation to recruiting people with conflict-related convictions.

NI Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

Another excellent source of information and good practice guidance is the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO)
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