BS7858 Vetting: A Comprehensive Guide for Secure Workplaces

BS7858 Vetting: A Comprehensive Guide for Secure Workplaces

BS7858 Vetting: A Comprehensive Guide for Secure Workplaces

Keeping your people and assets safe is paramount. But how do you maintain consistent, high-quality security screening throughout your organisation? Enter BS7858, the UK's national standard for vetting staff entrusted with sensitive roles. Developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI), BS7858 establishes the standard for background checks, providing a clear and open way to protecting your organisation's security posture.

What is Vetting to BS7858?

BS7858 is the established standard for security screening in the UK. The British Standards Institution (BSI) published it as a framework for employers to undertake extensive background checks on employees entrusted with protecting people, property, or sensitive information.

What Does BS7858 Cover?

The BS7858 standard outlines best practices for security screening in environments where the security of people, assets, or data is critical. This encompasses roles involving:

  • Data security
  • Sensitive contracts (both service and employment)
  • Confidential records

Furthermore, BS7858 can be applied in situations where public interest necessitates robust security screening procedures.

Is BS7858 the Same As SC?

Although both BS7858 and Security Checks (SC) play a crucial role in security vetting, they serve distinct purposes.

BS7858, published by the British Standards Institution (BSI), establishes best practices for background checks in security-sensitive roles and outlines a framework for employers to assess the suitability of potential hires entrusted with safeguarding people, assets, or confidential information. Whereas Security Checks (SC), also known as security clearance, are a separate process overseen by the Ministry of Defence's United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV) department. These in-depth checks grant access to classified government information or highly sensitive positions.

BS7858 serves as the foundation for security screening in the licenced security industry, whereas SC adds another layer of verification for extremely sensitive government posts. Understanding these distinctions is critical for negotiating security clearance requirements in the UK.

What Does BS7858 Vetting Include?

Here's a breakdown of the checks typically included in BS7858 screening:

  • Identity Verification: This confirms the candidate's true identity through document checks (passport, driving license, etc.).

  • Employment and Education History: A detailed review of the candidate's work experience and educational background for the past 5 or 10 years, including any gaps in employment.

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check: This background check, tailored to the role's security level, reveals criminal records and potential disqualifications.

  • Financial History Checks: These may include consumer information checks, County Court Judgments (CCJs), insolvency checks, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), and Directorship checks to assess financial stability and identify potential risks.

  • Global Watchlist Screening: This verifies if the candidate is on any sanctions lists associated with fraud or financial crime.

  • Security Industry Authority (SIA) License Check (if applicable): This confirms the candidate holds the necessary SIA license for specific security roles.

  • Right to Work Check: This ensures the candidate is legally eligible to work in the UK.

  • Address Verification: The candidate's residency history for the past 5 or 10 years is verified.

Optional Additional Check

Pre-employment Checks: For an even more in-depth assessment, employers may choose to include reference checks for the candidate's most recent employment positions (typically the last 3 years).

Who Needs BS7858 Security Screening?

The BS7858 standard, established by the British Standards Institution (BSI), outlines recommended practices for security screening in various contexts. Here's a breakdown of who typically undergoes BS7858 security screening:

  • Security Industry Personnel: This encompasses individuals working in roles like close protection, manned guarding, and door supervision.

  • Those Handling Sensitive Information: BS7858 applies to positions involving access to confidential data, sensitive contracts (both service and employment), or critical infrastructure.

  • Public Interest Considerations: In instances where robust security screening safeguards public well-being, BS7858 can be employed.

How Long Does BS7858 Vetting Process Take?

Several factors can affect the timeline for a BS7858 security screening, including:

  • Individual's History: Complex employment or address histories might require additional verification, delaying the procedure.

  • Vetting Provider Efficiency: To speed up the process, hire a reputed screening organisation with streamlined methods.

In general, BS7858 vetting can take several weeks to a couple of months.

What is the difference between BS7858 and Bpss?

While both BS7858 and BPSS play a role in vetting personnel, they cater to distinct needs and offer varying levels of scrutiny. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:


  BS7858 BPSS
Origin Established by the British Standards Institution (BSI) as a best practice standard.
Developed by the UK government as a baseline standard.
Application Applicable across various sectors for roles requiring security clearance, such as security personnel, data handlers, and those working with sensitive information.
Specifically mandated for government employees and those working with government assets or information.
Depth of Screening Offers a more comprehensive vetting process, including detailed employment history checks, financial checks, and address verification.
  Focuses on baseline security measures, primarily verifying identity, right to work, and basic criminal record checks.
In essence
It provides a robust framework for security screening across various industries.
It establishes a minimum security vetting standard for government personnel.

BS7858:2019, offers a robust framework to assess a candidate's suitability for roles involving sensitive data or restricted areas. While not mandatory by law, BS7858 security screening is widely recognised and adopted by companies. This comprehensive process provides employers with valuable peace of mind, fostering a more secure work environment.

Complygate's BS7858 screening package incorporates extensive checks, empowering you to make informed hiring decisions and ensure workplace security. Contact us for further assistance on BS7858 vetting or book a demo to explore our comprehensive BS7858 screening package.

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