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21 Apr 2023

BPSS checks: An employer’s guide to the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

Due Diligence Checking Stand: 2/A32
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) Checks

What is a BPSS check?

The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) describes to organisations how to screen and verify their prospective employees through a series of key background checks. BPSS outlines the mandatory checks for those with access to government assets. This check can also be implemented by any organisation looking at maintaining a strong standard of integrity and values.

Who requires a BPSS check?

BPSS checks are required for all individuals accessing government assets and describes the pre-employment screening controls as a minimum for:

  • All civil servant
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Temporary staff
  • Government contractors

The successful completion of the BPSS is also required for individuals requiring Security Clearance (SC). In addition, BPSS checks are a great place to start when introducing a pre-employment policy or considering your background checking options within any business.

What is included in a BPSS check?

BPSS checks are widely considered the baseline for pre-employment screening and for good reason. All the checks can be completed by you or your HR team and you may already be carrying out some of these individual checks already. Covering four key pre-employment screening elements, the checks required are:

Right to work

A right to work check should already be an integral part of your onboarding process. Ensure your applicants are entitled to start work in the position offered by carrying out one of the prescribed checks before employment commences:

  • A manual right to work check
  • A right to work check using IDVT through the services of an identity service provider (IDSP)
  • A Home Office online right to work check


verification of identity is an essential part of any pre-employment checking process. A full ID check is conducted to verify the candidate is who they say they are by using one of the following methods:

  • Physically checking a range of appropriate identification OR
  • Using a digital identity verification service

Criminal record check

The BPSS standard requires a minimum of a Basic DBS check, which shows details of any unspent convictions. Some roles may require a higher level of DBS check which can alternatively be conducted as part of their BPSS check. 

Employment history

A minimum of 3 years of employment or academic history including any employment gaps should be verified. This can be done by contacting previous employers and following up on references.

Applicants must also declare any significant periods (6 months or more in the past 3 years) of time living abroad.

What happens after the completion of BPSS clearance?

Following completion, you should record the checks and results of the BPSS on the individual’s personnel file, known as the BPSS Verification Record. There is a misconception that a ‘Certificate of clearance’ is required but this is simply not the case. You need to record the successful completion of the core checks and when they were conducted. The completed report or results can then be provided for transfers between departments and agencies and as the basis for any subsequent national security vetting checks (where necessary) if requested. It is your responsibility as an employer to store these records in a secure and GDPR-compliant manner.

Can you fail a BPSS check?

In short, no. A BPSS check is not a test that can be failed, it’s more of a risk minimisation tool.

The function of a BPSS check is to help you better understand who you’re hiring and assess and manage any risks associated with the individual. You may refuse the individual’s employment based on the results of the BPSS checks. This would be on the basis of your internal policies.

The results of the DBS check or employment history elements of a BPSS may bring to light adverse information that questions the candidate’s ability to perform the role. On the other hand, adverse information discovered may not be at all relevant to their role. You should decide who is responsible in your organisation for approving or refusing the BPSS results.

Do BPSS checks have an expiry?

No, there are no expiry dates for BPSS checks or any requirement to renew the BPSS once completed. It is important to note however that the checks are a snapshot and ongoing security management is crucial in identifying any changes. If an applicant has time-limited right to work in the UK, to retain your excuse from a civil penalty, you must complete rechecks of the applicant’s right to work status.

How can DDC help with your BPSS checks?

Although organisations can conduct the elements of a BPSS check in-house, in many cases it may be more efficient to let DDC manage the whole process from start to finish. DDC can support you with verifying all four elements of the BPSS and provide you with a final BPSS report. Our bespoke and flexible online platform provides:

✓ Single management interface - Manage all four elements of your BPSS checks easily with a single interface, using our dynamic Client Area.

✓ Service to suit your needs - Our online system also allows you to offload specific elements of a BPSS check to reduce your workload and speed up the process.

✓ Support and advice - You will have access to DDC’s experienced Customer Service Team providing support and advice for all your checks.

How does the BPSS process work?

Our online system makes it easy for you to request manage and receive results for your BPSS checks. We go above and beyond to ensure the BPSS application is completed efficiently and with minimal input from you. We will even chase your applicants to ensure they provide all the required information quickly so you can expect to have the final report within days.

  1. Register your organisation for free and set up your account
  2. Add the basic details of the individuals requiring the BPSS check
  3. We will email your applicants a link to access our online application form
  4. The applicant completes the online application form by providing:
    • Information about themselves including five years of address history
    • Three years of employment history and references
    • Their identity documents
    • Evidence of their right to work in the UK
  5. You verify original identity documents via the interactive portal where required
  6. We will process the checks, submit information to the DBS and contact all previous employers
  7. You can monitor the progress at every stage and we will notify you if any input is required
  8. Once we have completed the work, download your BPSS final report from the system

Ask the experts

If you would like to know more on how we can help with your BPSS checks, speak with our background screening experts today. We can talk you through the process, ensuring you are compliant at every stage and tailor the package to meet your requirements. Contact us on or 0116 260 3055.

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