BS7858 ‘Security screening of individuals employed in a security environment

BS7858 Security Vetting

BS7858 ScreeningBS7858 o is the standard for vetting of people employed in the security sector here in the UK.

It is set by the British Standards Institution and was last updated in 2013

In the UK over the past 10 years there has been much movement in the area of background checks with BS7858 screening being introduced to ensure that standards are maintained and that those employees working in sensitive areas or with vulnerable people are properly vetted.

If you have questions about applying this vetting standard in your business then please fill in the Request A Callback form on this page and click the “call me back” button  or call 01728 888 157 and we will answer your questions

BS7858 Screening

In April 2013, the old standard for vetting of security staff was  withdrawn and replaced with BS7858:2012 ‘Security screening of individuals employed in a security environment – Code of Practice’. The new standard replaced the former code with an updated view of how security employees should be vetted.

The updating of the standard was seen as a generally good thing in the industry. However employers still face a fairly onerous series of requirements that industry specialist Checkback Vetting Solutions Centre is ideally placed to help you with.

BS7858 Vetting Requirements

  • 5 years of employment verification
  • 6 year credit search
  • Proof of ID & UK right to work
  • Proof of address
  • A character reference
  • A valid SIA licence or carrying out basic disclosure/ACPO
  • Coverage of any 31+ day employment gaps

Employers are also required to open up a screening file for each individual and retain it for 7 years following cessation of employment.

Having a single standard  across the UK is a useful development as it means that the public can be assured that security staff they come across are checked as far as possible and employers can have peace of mind that the people working for them are as trustworthy as they can be.

Reducing the risk in this way is vital for employers as providing unstable staff to an event or dishonest people for a retail environment could cause serious representational damage to the company.

BS7858 Vetting Procedure

The standard also rolls in other pieces of UK legislation such as the right to work which is a requirement of all UK employers. This means that one check can be carried out for basic employment and security duties.

The standard also requires that breaks in employment of more than 31 days are fully explained. For most people it could simply be periods of unemployment, extended holiday or sabbatical or a period of studying away from the workplace. For others however any extended period out of employment may mean something more sinister such as a prison sentence or being held on remand. Previously only 2 personal referees were required for this; now documentary evidence is required such as utility bills, bank statements and correspondence including 1 character reference covering gap in employment.

No-one would deny that it is important for security staff to be screened and there is a good argument for companies routinely using some or all of the standard for their other staff however there are some issues that can cause difficulty.

There are a large number of items to check and some take detailed and experienced understanding. Employee vetting is actually a fairly complex administrative issue to find and collate all of the information needed and analyse these correctly. The problem for the smaller employer is compounded when they are required to access external services rarely such as credit check firms. The smaller company will face higher costs as they tend to have a low volume of service use.

The break in employment requirement also causes problems. The most common must surely be the housewife or husband that returns to work after a period looking after young children. This will show up in during BS7858 screening and so they will need to provide an explanation for their absence from the workforce and a personal referee. The amount of documentary evidence around the break is, after all likely to be scarce if they have not claimed benefits.

There is possibly a further more fundamental issue with the new BS7858 standard and that is the reliance on documentary evidence. If we imagine a UK national who spends 3 months in a Spanish prison. Clearly they would have the council tax bill for their property as this is issued annually. Utility bills would also be available for the same period. It is not without the bounds of possibility that they’d be able to get someone to write a false personal reference. By the same token it is also possible that someone may be acting as a carer living in with a relative, does not pay any of the bills and has no outside acquaintances available to write a reference. In this case the person could be unduly discriminated against due to the lack of paperwork.

Clearly this is not a simple process, especially for the smaller company that has little in the way of in-house HR capability. Outsourcing this to an experienced company like Checkback Vetting Solutions Centre makes sense, not only from the point of view of cost and efficiency but also as a way of ensuring compliance with regulations.

Fill out our Request A Callback form on this page and one of our team will be delighted to contact you to discuss your needs, or call us now on: 01728 888 157


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