What is the BS7858 Standard?

The BS7858 standard is a code of practice released by BSI (British Standards Institution) that provides recommendations for the screening of individuals working in a secure environment.

Screening to this standard is essential if you are hiring an individual who is involved with (but not limited to):

  • The security or safety of people
  • Goods and services
  • Data
  • Property

Previously an important standard in security sectors, BS7858 now applies to all sectors where a secure environment is present.

The BS7858 standard was last revised in September 2019 (namely, BS7858:2019).

Who is the standard for?

The standard was developed with the security sector in mind. The security workforce is regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). If your organisation wishes to join the SIA Approved Contractor Scheme, then you must demonstrate compliance to BS7858.

However, the standard also applies to companies where individuals work in sensitive areas or where large amounts of sensitive data is processed. For example, banking, communications, healthcare, media, education, government, insurance, retail, etc.

The standard is not only applicable to employees of an organisation, but also sole traders, partnerships, temporary and permanent employees, and to all levels of seniority, including directors.

Why is this standard important?

Whilst some background checks may provide adequate information for certain roles (e.g., BPSS), the BS7858 standard provides a robust and comprehensive framework to ensure effective screening.

Working towards this standard can prevent the hiring of individuals with adverse motives. As a result, this protects both your company and the public.

In addition, companies with a large workforce, third-party contractors, and staff working from home find they all have the same access to company resources, data, and information.

Therefore, it is important to have a process in place to ensure all involved parties are screened (and, as a result, trustworthy).

What services are involved for BS7858?

The code of practice for BS7858 requires:

Identity Checks

Identity checks must be accompanied by copies of original identification documents, such as a birth certification, passport, and/or driving license.

  • ID confirmation
  • Five years address history
  • Right to Work check
  • Character references
  • SIA Licence check (if applicable)

Financial Checks

Also known as a credit enquiry, the financial check looks into:

  • Bankruptcy / Insolvency / IVA
  • CCJs up to a value of £10,000
  • Credit score

Employment Checks

This involves an analysis of all periods of employment, self-employment, and employment gaps of up to 31 days. These checks require:

  • 5 or 10 years employment history
  • Gap referencing (more in depth and extended to 31 days)

Criminal Record

This is performed as a basic level (basic disclosure), which details unspent criminal convictions and conditional cautions:

  • Basic criminal record check (DBS) or Disclosure Scotland

Public Safety Verification

This process will cross-reference the individual’s name against watchlists, fraud, and sanctions databases. Such searches will detect if an individual has any adverse media attention or affiliations with any illegal entities. For example, an international sanction check will detect if a candidate is suspected to be affiliated with terrorism, animal rights, money laundering, drug trafficking, arms dealing, war crimes, white collar fraud, or other illegal activities.

You can find more information on a sanctions search can be found here.

What changes were made to BS7858:2019?

The full wording of BS7858:2019 can be found here.

The main elements of the BS7858:2019 changes:

  • Global watchlists check was added
  • Social media checks (recommended as best practice) was added
  • Removal of character references
  • Right to Work checks corresponding to DBS identity requirements
  • Retention of each candidate’s screening file (records must be held for 7 years after an employee has left)
  • Personnel who are screening to the BS7858 standard must be appropriately trained

How long does BS7858 last?

Employers are required to keep a BS7858 check file for 7 years after an employee has stopped working for them.

Using EBC Global for BS7858 checks

EBC Global provide two systems that will help you with BS7858 checks. These systems will help you prove the competence of applicants, helping to demonstrate that they can carry out the job with trust and integrity. These systems are Employment Check Lite and Employment Check Pro.

Both these systems allow you to perform these checks in a compliant and automated way.

By entering just a few details, you can obtain a clear and concise check, with the information required of the BS7858 standard.

To learn how EBC Global can help you with your background checks, contact us today to book a demo.

The information provided in this blog post was created by individuals at EBC Global who have vast knowledge of background checks, standards, practices, and pre-employment screening around the world. However, this guide should not be construed as legal advice. It is recommended to seek appropriate guidance from either BSI or appropriate legal professionals.