How to get BPSS Clearance [Guide]

How do I Get BPSS Security Clearance?

BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) is a required level of background check for anyone working in, or on behalf of, a government department. 

It’s a standard that has been set out to protect national security, government assets and information, tackle identity fraud and also reduce the risk of illegal workers.

Therefore, only certain people can have access to this information; these people are deemed suitable after achieving BPSS security clearance.

Who Needs BPSS Clearance?

Baseline security clearance is a legal requirement for the following people:

  • Members of the UK armed forces
  • UK civil servants
  • Temporary staff within a government organisation
  • Government contractors

BPSS also underpins National Security Vetting (NSV) and is, therefore, a requirement for anyone applying for this level of clearance.

To obtain security clearance an individual is required to complete a BPSS check. An individual, however, cannot apply for a check on themselves. Only an employer can request that BPSS checks be carried out, and an individual can apply thereafter. Similarly to how Standard and Enhanced DBS checks are requested and conducted, there must be an employer request.

What is Involved in a BPSS Check?

There are 4 elements to a BPSS check and all of which the applicant must pass. Checks are based on a RICE (right to work, identity, criminal record and employment history) framework.

  • Right to Work in the UK - determining whether a candidate is eligible to take up employment, as well as their immigration status and nationality.
  • Identity check - full identity verification using valid and up-to-date checks, such as driving licenses, passports, visa documents, proof of address etc.

  • Criminal record check - BPSS is not the same as a DBS check, but Basic DBS checks are performed as a part of BPSS security clearance.

  • Employment history - confirmation of a minimum of three years’ history of the applicant’s employment status.

If candidates have spent a period of 6 months or more overseas, within the last 3 years, this must be declared as well. 

Once the required check has been completed, the candidate will be notified if they have received security clearance. If they are successful, they will receive a BPSS security certificate.

How Long Does BPSS Take?

Typically, BPSS checks can take approximately 1-2 days to complete. 

Given that it’s fairly non-intrusive and the majority of the time, information is quickly verified from the relevant third parties.

There can be delays in the BPSS application process if people enter their information incorrectly. Or if the third party handling the DBS checks and employment history checks, for example, need to verify conflicting or additional information. 

For instance, if the employment history verification shows that the applicant spent longer time abroad than specified in their application, the agency may need to verify this information with the applicant again. 

Here at Eurocom CI, we are regularly requested by employers (across many industries) to develop solutions that help them oversee and manage a vast number of security checks. We always recommend to employers and applicants to ensure that every application form can be completed thoroughly in the first instance and that there is no missing information which you will need to obtain after the application has been processed. This just adds delays to the BPSS application. 

This is why if you need a BPSS check completed quickly, it’s vital you ensure you have the correct information to hand and go over your application with a fine-toothed comb to ensure it’s 100% correct and accurate.

What Happens After Getting BPSS Clearance?

Verified individuals have their information listed on a BPSS Verification Record, which is stored and retained on their personal file with their new employer. Access to this individual personal file is restricted to a select few people, specifically on a ‘need to know’ basis.

An applicant’s BPSS record is transferable, should an individual move from one company to another. The record can be requested, so the new organisation can verify they are cleared. 

That being said, the new company must ensure that the information disclosed on the BPSS check can be secured and restricted. This is a requirement in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998

Once a certificate has been issued, there is no expiry date. However, the government does have to re-check the immigration status of non-UK-born employees, every 12 months. This is to ensure they still have the right to work.

Help from BPSS Experts

If you need any assistance regarding BPSS or any other recognised standards for ensuring candidates are fit for the role, then speak to Eurocom CI. We carry out a huge range of background checks, pre-employment screening services and offer our clients a series of packages to help them manage and monitor all applications. 

Need something more bespoke? Then give us a call today.