BPSS and DBS Checks | Are they the Same?

Background check jargon is easy to misunderstand and misinterpret. As there are numerous types of pre-employment screening checks it can be easy to get confused. One of the main areas of confusion is between BPSS and DBS checks, so we’ve created this short guide to explain the differences between both and what each one involves.

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They are both Background Checks, but is BPSS the same as DBS?

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is not the same as a BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) check. Both are forms of background checks, primarily carried out before a candidate fills a job vacancy, or voluntary position, with an organisation.

When applying for a job, candidates may be required to apply for a DBS check or a BPSS security clearance check. Generally, the BPSS and DBS check cost will be covered by the employer, but that’s not exclusive to every company. 

To make matters slightly more confusing, as part of the BPSS screening process, the candidate may need to also apply for a DBS. There’s a fair amount of confusion judging by the questions we get asked, but don’t worry. We’ve broken down below the differences between these two checks.

What is a DBS Check?

DBS checks are often still referred to by their old name, CRB checks. Some may remember the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) as responsible for criminal record checks; this organisation merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in 2012 to form the Disclosure and Barring Service. To clear up any confusion, DBS checks are the same as CRB checks.

DBS applications show whether an applicant has a criminal history and is prevented from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Types of DBS Check

DBS checks come in one of three types:

  1. Basic DBS check
  2. Standard DBS check
  3. Enhanced DBS check

A Basic DBS only shows unspent criminal convictions, whereas Standard and Enhanced DBS checks delve deeper into an applicant’s history. They’ll uncover whether a person has any spent or unspent convictions, as well as cautions, reprimands and final warnings. Some employers can request Enhanced DBS applications to be conducted alongside Barred List checks, which, if an applicant appears on, show whether these people are banned from working with children or vulnerable adults. 

The purpose of these checks is to safeguard children and vulnerable adults from coming into contact with unsuitable people.

What is BPSS?

BPSS stands for Baseline Personnel Security Standard, and is the pre-employment screening standard for employees working in government departments. 

The purpose of BPSS security clearance is to protect government information and assets and, in turn, minimise national security risks. 

These checks apply to the following people in a government department:

  • Armed Forces personnel
  • Civil Servants
  • Temporary workers
  • Contractors 

BPSS is one of four primary personnel security standards, alongside CTC (Counter-Terrorist Check), DV (Developed Vetting) and Security Check (SC).

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BPSS Process

When carrying out BPSS security screening, an employer will conduct the following checks as part of the standard:

  1. Identity verification
  2. Right to work in the UK
  3. Nationality and immigration status
  4. Employment history
  5. Gaps in employment
  6. Criminal record check - i.e. a DBS check

So the DBS forms a part of the BPSS process. Depending on the government department role, the DBS check will either be Basic, Standard or Enhanced. 

We can see that DBS checks make up a vital component of a BPSS screening, but it’s not the same as BPSS because it doesn’t satisfy the other steps in the list.

How do I get a DBS Check?

Most of the time, DBS certificates are only obtainable once an employer requests one from you. Individuals can apply for a Basic DBS check themselves but would not be able to apply for a Standard or Enhanced check without an employer request in place.

For more information, we recommend heading to our criminal records page.

At Eurocom CI, we offer bulk DBS checks for employers service. With our innovative and easy-to-use system, employers can take advantage of handling multiple DBS checks and overseeing them in one place.

We can tailor this solution to your organisation’s size, industry, staff turnover and any other specific requirements you have.

How do I get BPSS Clearance?

To find out how to get BPSS security clearance, we’d recommend following this guide. That will outline how long BPSS checks take, the process and all information you need to know.

Eurocom CI also conduct background checks against other standards such as BS7858, PCI compliance and SMCR. Head on over to our standards page for more information.

If you’d like any assistance regarding your background check requirements to ensure your applicants are fit for the roles advertised, speak to Eurocom CI today.

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