The huge range of different options which employers in the UK have for screening staff can be confusing, especially as so many abbreviations and acronyms are used. Here are some of the most common types of screening, along with a brief explanation of where they are used to help you interpret the jargon.


DBS, PVG and Access NI

These are perhaps the most common types of screening checks. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) deals with England and Wales, Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) is a Scottish scheme, and Access NI is found in Northern Ireland. All of these schemes are police checking systems for verifying that people applying to work in certain occupations are suitable to do so. This type of checking doesn’t apply to all jobs, but is standard for people working in care, healthcare or education. Usually a job advert will state whether or not the position requires DBS checking, and usually the employer will pay the cost of having the checks done.



The Baseline Personnel Security Standard is not a check in itself, more guidance around what sort of checks employers should be doing around a worker’s immigration status and right to work in the UK, verifying their identity and finally working out whether the role they are applying for requires a further DBS check.



BS7868 is a system accredited by the British Standards Institute, and is the gold standard in security checking for employees. This is an in-depth level of checking which takes some time to complete so can’t be applied to every employee. It is used for people working at high levels in organisations, or who have access to large sums of money. Companies using this standard will run a credit check on the applicant, verify their employment history for at least five years, check their degree qualifications with a University, run a criminal records check and take up references.



Yet another type of checking is the “fit and proper person” screening used by organisations in the financial sector. In addition to the basic checks on someone’s identity, the FCA system will involve more checking into an employee’s financial situation, in order to find out whether they have debts or have ever been declared bankrupt in the past. Depending on the role, a disclosure check might be carried out too.


Other Types of Vetting

Every company has its own way of vetting its workers, often drawing on the basics and guidelines above, but also pulling in other checks dependent on their industry. People applying to work in security sensitive locations such as a nuclear power station or in an air traffic control tower will have a higher level of checking into their past, including questions about their parents and any time they have spent overseas. These checks are done in order to protect national security and the methods for checking and exactly what the government are checking for are kept secret too.