AccessNI was established through a joint programme that comprised representatives from the Northern Ireland Office, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The programme team consulted with the Criminal Records Bureau and Disclosure Scotland.
AccessNI was established on 1 April 2008 and has been in operation for less than nine months. All necessary resources to enable AccessNI to achieve its service targets have been made available. This has included additional staffing, including both permanent and temporary, the creation of overtime at weekends and evenings and the provision of additional accommodation.
Initially AccessNI had a total of 22 staff but due to the heavier than expected workload this number increased to its current total of 57 (or 63 if Identity and Passport Service Staff are included). This number includes both permanent and temporary staff.
It is important to note that while criminal history searches for certain posts had previously been carried out by the PSNI, the checks carried out now are more stringent than in the past.
I am pleased to report that AccessNI is now meeting all of its service standards.