What is BPSS? A Quick Guide | Baseline Personnel Security Standard

Everything You Need to Know About BPSS


What is BPSS clearance?

Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) is the standard level of security screening for anyone working within, or on behalf of, a government department. 

This security standard was introduced to reduce the risk of organisations hiring illegal workers, prevent identity fraud and protect national security. This standard was established to meet the minimum level of background checks required for:

  • Government agency contractors
  • Civil servants
  • Members of the armed forces

As roles within government departments involve working with potentially sensitive information, organisations conduct pre-employment screening checks, using the BPSS standard as a measuring tool to assess best practices. Additionally, BPSS guidance is widely used in the energy, communications and financial sectors, although it does not replace standards like BS7858 or SMCR (Senior Managers Certification Regime).

What is a BPSS Check?

BPSS checks confirm the identity of an individual, as well as their right to work in the UK. These types of checks are required when organisations secure government contracts, providing a level of assurance to employers, confirming those individuals’ suitability for the job role. 

Baseline security clearance is granted to individuals that demonstrate their eligibility, suitability and trustworthiness for handling potentially sensitive information within a government department. 

How do I get BPSS Clearance?

If you’re wondering, “what information is included in a BPSS Check how do I get BPSS clearance?” the following checks are included within a standard BPSS security screening. 

  • Personal ID check - this confirms that the candidate has a valid form of identification and is who they say they are.
  • Right to Work - to confirm a person’s eligibility for working in the UK.
  • Residential address - which verifies the current address a candidate provides and confirms that they live there.
  • Basic DBS check - which divulges any spent or unspent cautions or convictions that an applicant has.
  • Employment history - confirms start and end dates of employment, and position held at a company (verified from trusted referees and/or HR officials).
  • Employment gap investigation - investigates any substantial gaps between jobs when discussing screening requirements. These can be for periods of 28 days or more.

This level of screening is based on a 4-level RICE framework (right to work, identity, criminal record and employment history).

Why is BPSS Security Necessary?

BPSS checks are designed to protect government assets and information, by confirming the identity of employees applying to work in those departments. In doing so, applicants who pass BPSS security checks have been deemed trustworthy and eligible to not only work in the UK legally but also handle sensitive government information. 

Due to the rising number of people with access to the Public Services Network (PSN) connected networks, as well as government intranets (Wide Area Networks - WAN), BPSS clearance has become vital for recruitment in government services.

How Long Does BPSS Last?

Once these checks are conducted, access to results is prohibited to specific people on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. 

These checks have no official expiry date, and they might also be transferred to a new employer when an individual leaves a position with an organisation. 

The only exceptions to this are potentially migrant workers, where repeat BPSS checks are carried out every 12 months. Once an individual has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, there is no longer any need to carry out annual BPSS checks.

How to Apply for a BPSS Check

Specialist background check companies like Eurocom CI can advise organisations on BPSS best practices, and ensure that all organisations are carrying out checks correctly. 

We help employers carry out BPSS screening checks quickly and thoroughly, and we offer a transparent and proactive service. We always ensure you’re kept up-to-date, every step of the way. 

Using our innovative software, your electronic BPSS screening reports will confirm everything you need to know to make informed decisions promptly and efficiently.

If your organisation is in need of a forward-thinking, proactive agency to help you fulfil your employee screening requirements, get in touch with Eurocom CI. We offer a free software demonstration so you can see how we would work before you commit to anything. 

Please refer to our packages, or if you need something more specific alongside BPSS checks, then please contact us today.