What is the BS7858 Security Screening Standard?

There are several options available to employers when it comes to screening staff. One of the most common screening processes is a background check, specifically concerning individuals that want to work in a security environment. 

To measure the effectiveness of companies conducting these pre-employment screening checks, the British Standards Institution (BSI) published a ‘best practice’ standard known as BS7858.

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What is BS7858?

BS7858 screening was introduced in 2012 to ensure that standards were kept in regards to employees requiring background checks, for working in security environments. The BS7858 screening standard was published by the BSI, and the 2019 standard (which replaced the initial 2012 standard) is regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

Contrary to popular belief, BS7858-compliant vetting checks are not required in order for individuals to obtain SIA licences, although they do remain best practice. 

These types of security checks define a security environment as anywhere that insiders could potentially steal (or threaten the integrity of) data, assets (both physical and intellectual), information, or somewhere that is responsible for the safety of others.

In 2019, the old BS7858 vetting standard was withdrawn, with some updates on how security employees should be screened.


Difference Between BS7858:2012 and BS7858:2019

The full details of the changes made to BS7858:2012 can be found in the BSI Standards Publication. The 2012 standard was withdrawn on 31st March 2020, and now the 2019 standard sets out the requirements for organisations conducting background screening checks for employees working in a secure environment.

A summary of the changes include:

  • Inclusion of social media checks as a recommended best practice for pre and post-employment
  • Right to Work checks in line with Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) identity requirements
  • Removal of character references
  • Inclusion of new global watchlist checks during the application process
  • Retaining candidates’ background check files during the duration of their employment (and unsuccessful applicants’ for 12 months)
  • Specific records held for up to 7 years after cessation of employment
  • Permission for pre-employment screening files to be portable (transferable from job to job)
  • Those engaged in BS7858 security checks should be trained for all envisaged duties

Updating these BS7858 standards was generally met with positive responses, but employers still face a series of requirements that prove difficult and confusing. This is where the experience and proficiency of Eurocom CI can help you.

The BSI included social media checks due to becoming increasingly aware of what security environment workers post on social media. It’s therefore now been included before and after a period of employment.

Why use BS7858?

BS7858 is a more comprehensive screening method than others on the market and involves a more thorough search. This ultimately provides employers and businesses with the peace of mind that anybody entering the business as an employee is trustworthy and safe to complete their duties.

Who is BS7858 for?

BS7858 is largely used in sectors across the UK and overseas and is favoured in the finance, insurance, banking, healthcare, aviation, education, HR, facility management and IT industries to name a few. 

These sectors benefit greatly from the BS7858 screening method as they often need the extra layer of protection to ensure all employees are safe, especially when handling delicate assets such as money or documentation. 

They also opt for the BS7858 screening method to ensure they are complying with rules and regulations of their industry. This can also enhance the quality of their services.

BS7858 Vetting Requirements

Below is what is required for employers who screen individuals in line with the BS7858 code of practice:

There is no need to include DBS checks in BS7858 screening packages, as the SIA conducts these criminal record checks as part of an individual’s registration process. Otherwise, a Basic DBS check will suffice, if the individual does not have an SIA licence.

It’s clear to see how complex an employee screening and vetting process is, not to mention the large amount of information requiring validation. It’s one thing to gather all of the applicant information, but it must be analysed thoroughly, effectively and promptly. For smaller employers, this is particularly difficult as they often require third-party providers for specific checks, such as credit checks or checks against the Financial Services Register.

This is where Eurocom CI can help provide you with numerous checks in a bespoke, tailored package that is perfectly suited to your organisation.

Acceptable Documents for BS7858 Screening

The following are a result of a completed BS7858 screening:

  • ID check
  • 5 or 10-year career history (including education and gap periods)
  • Basic DBS Check
  • Consumer information check
  • CCJ check
  • Insolvency check
  • IVA check
  • Directorship check
  • Global watchlist check (fraud and financial sanctions checks)
  • SIA licence check (if applicable)
  • Right to work check
  • 5-Year address verification
  • Name history since birth check
  • Optional extra: pre-employment checks for the last three years' employment

The most common and suitable documentation accepted for a BS7858 screening includes:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Birth certificate
  • Council Tax bill
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bill (not for a mobile)
  • PAYE records – the best evidence for career history

Other acceptable documents include:

  • Payslips
  • P45 or P60
  • Employment contract/letter
  • Accountant's statements
  • Invoices to clients (for the self-employed)
  • Self-assessment tax returns
  • Educational qualification certificates

Other Options for Screening Employees

Here at Eurocom CI, we provide a wide range of background screening services, from higher education checks to full media checks. We even have a bulk DBS employer check service. We are a registered DBS umbrella organisation and are authorised by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to process specific checks. 

We don’t just cover BS7858, we also work closely within sectors like healthcare, finance and local authorities. Eurocom CI provide specific packages, covering requirements of the updated BS7858 standard. Our flexible approach allows us to cater to specific organisations, and offer customised, bespoke solutions for them. We can do the same for you.

As always, we will attempt to clarify any confusion surrounding changes to standards or legislation. If you have any queries regarding how this affects your organisation, or any concerns about making screening process changes, get in touch with us today.

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