BPSS Security Clearance – contractor overview
One ContractorUK reader is part of a growing trend, as we’re seeing more and more temporary professionals who need to acquire BPSS clearance, writes Laura Mullins of Complete Background Screening (CBS). But what is BPSS, why is it necessary and how long does it take?
What is BPSS?
BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) is the required level of screening for any individuals working with or on behalf of a government department. BPSS checks were created to help reduce the risk of illegal workers, identity fraud and overall protect national security. These checks are usually conducted pre-employment.
BPSS is a standard level of screening in the communications, energy and financial sectors. This type of check confirms the identity of individuals when working with potentially sensitive information. The cost of a BPSS check is £115.00 per application and the average turnaround time is 7-10 working days.
Why is it necessary?
BPSS checks are seen by the government as an important precaution to confirm the identity of an individual (employee or contractor) and their rights to work in the UK. These types of checks are often required when securing government contracts / government-related work providing a level of assurance as to those individuals’ trustworthiness, honestly, integrity and values required for the job position. BPSS checks mitigate the risks associated with individuals working with potentially sensitive information.
What information is included in this type of check?
A BPSS check consists of verification made up of the following four parts (known as RICE):
- Right to work -- Nationality and Immigration Status (including an entitlement to undertake the work in question)
- Identity -- ID data check (electronic identity authentication- name, address, aliases, links, accounts etc.)
- Criminal Records -- Search for unspent convictions only (Basic Disclosure)
- Employment history check -- Confirmation of past three years employment (minimum) history / activity
In addition, candidates are required to disclose any significant periods spent abroad (6 months or more in the past three years).
How can contractors apply for these types of checks?
Traditionally, applying for a BPSS check has been a difficult and complex process for individual contractors. We recommend you look for what we’ve decided to offer -- applications via an online portal where, upon completion, the data is transferred securely to the applicant, summarised and ready to be presented to prospective end-users.
This is all the more important since applications for BPSS checks are on the increase due to a growing number of end-users seeming to realise that pre-employment screening only provides an assessment of an individual at that one point in time. Re-screening workers mitigates the risk to an organisation and ensures that the individuals are still suitable for the role (particularly if the role has changed), and provides peace of mind to the organisation that they meet industry standards. If as a contractor you also want peace of mind about BPSS or other security clearances by having your queries answered, then we’re on-hand to help.