What is BPSS? The essentials of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard

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The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) is the standard pre-employment screening for employees working in government departments. It replaced its predecessor, the Basic Check, in 2006.

The BPSS is designed to protect government assets by reducing the incidences of illegal workers and protecting national security, by confirming the identity of the applicant and their legal right to work in the UK.

Due to the rise of the number of people with access to the Public Services Network (PSN) connected networks, and the government intranets (Wide Area Networks – WAN), the BPSS has become an essential tool in government services recruiting.

The basic entry level screening is based on the four-level RICE framework and checks the applicants right to work in the UK, their identity, their criminal records and their employment history (for the last 3 years). The check also includes whether an applicant has spent time abroad, the baseline for this is six months or more in the past three years.

The BPSS is essential for individuals who might be working with sensitive information on government contracts, or who have access to government assets, and is common in the communications, energy and financial sectors, whether they are permanent employees or contractors.

Once the check is carried out, access to the results are strictly kept on a need to know basis, and once it has been carried out it doesn’t need to be repeated. The check might be transferred to a new employer when the employee changes their employment, but there is no expiry date. The only exception to this is in the case of migrant workers, where repeat checks must be carried out 12 months after the previous check, or before the previous leave has expired. Once indefinite leave has been granted for a worker to remain in the UK, the check doesn’t need to be repeated.

Carrying out BPSS is a legal requirement for all workers who might have access to sensitive information and is a part of the UK security clearance (SC) vetting. BPSS can help assure employers of the trustworthiness and integrity of workers.

A specialist background screening agency can advise on the BPSS and ensure that it is carried out correctly and adheres to legislation.