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The fast track to compliance: streamlining your BPSS clearance

Screening • Feb 12, 2024 12:51:03 PM • Written by: Mark Ramsey

The essentials of BPSS

The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) is a critical framework which was created as a legal and foundational level of security clearance for civil servants, armed forces members, temporary staff, government contractors, and any individuals accessing government assets. However, it’s increasingly being recognised as a best practice approach across all industries, due to its robust nature. Originating in 2006 as a successor to Basic Checks, BPSS serves as an essential gateway for individuals to access UK OFFICIAL assets, and under certain conditions, SECRET assets, while also working in proximity to highly confidential information.  

In this blog post, we will explore the fundamentals of a BPSS clearance, its development over time, and actionable steps your organisation can take to speed up this process. You’ll learn how Giant's BPSS solution dramatically cuts the time it takes to do a BPSS clearance - from weeks to under 24 hours in many cases - with open banking, HMRC and payroll integration to instantly verify employment information. Coupled with our digital right to work check service and criminal record check and you’ve got the perfect combination. If you’ve heard enough already and want to go straight to the action – speak to one of our screening experts today

The importance of a BPSS clearance

A BPSS clearance plays a critical role in ensuring the integrity, trustworthiness, and reliability of individuals within sensitive roles, aiming to reduce potential risks such as illegal activities, undisclosed criminal convictions, and embellishments on CVs or qualifications. With an alarming 64% of CV’s found to contain falsifications, a BPSS clearance not only secures the hiring process but also safeguards national security by reducing threats against public safety and national interests.

The evolution of BPSS demand

The demand for BPSS clearance has seen significant growth, particularly with the phased requirements for the Public Services Network (PSN) introduced from 2013 to 2015, mandating BPSS checks for all PSN users. If you’re not familiar with the PSN, simply put this is the UK’s governments data network, connecting all public sector organisations -  allowing collaboration, the sharing of resources and bringing together previously fragmented public services into a unified and transparent network. This surge underscores the necessity for BPSS clearance beyond its initial scope, highlighting its role as the foundational tier in a hierarchy of security checks that includes the Counter-Terrorist Check (CTC), Security Check (SC), and Developed Vetting (DV).

The core components of BPSS 

The BPSS framework is anchored by four key elements, easily remembered by the mnemonic "RICE":

Right to Work: Verification of nationality and immigration

Identity: Including name, date of birth and address and national insurance number

Criminal Record Check: Searches for unspent convictions only

Employment History: Verification of a minimum of three years' employment history.

These components ensure a thorough assessment of an individual's background, reinforcing compliance with legal standards and safeguarding against unauthorised employment.

BPSS recent trends

The responsibility for BPSS implementation generally lies with HR departments, though collaboration with security, legal, and procurement teams is recommended. 

While the trajectory for screening standards, particularly BPSS, is one of increasing demand, organisations even outside of the public sector are recognising the importance of comprehensive background screening in general. Acknowledged as a robust standard, the adoption of BPSS and its principles continue to rise and this growth is clear to see in a simple Google trends chart from its original conception to the present day: 

Revolutionising BPSS compliance with instant employment verification 

Traditional methods of complying with BPSS have presented significant challenges for HR departments across the country, including cumbersome processes, delays in obtaining employment references, and the ever-present risk of identity fraud and deception. 

When you consider that 85% of HR professionals have openly admitted to making a bad hire, it’s critical for companies to avoid this costly mistake, particularly since the average cost of a poor hire at mid-management level surpasses £132,000. The HR function is at breaking point with 98% professionals claiming to have experienced burn out,  and 94% feeling overwhelmed , it’s no wonder a bad hire may have slipped through the net once or twice. Which is why many, look to outsource this process to a trusted leader like Giant to eliminate risk.    

Historically, verifying a candidate's employment history, a core requirement of BPSS, has been fraught with difficulties. Employers often face reluctance when seeking detailed references due to data protection concerns, leading to significant delays in the hiring process. Moreover, the administrative burden of manually verifying each element of the BPSS — including identity, employment history, and criminal records — can be daunting and resource-intensive.

Recognising these challenges, Giant’s Instant employment verification service has marked a significant leap forward in streamlining the BPSS compliance process. By harnessing the power of Instant data verification from authoritative sources such as HMRC, Open banking and Payroll, offers a solution that is not only faster but also more secure and reliable than traditional methods.

Our Instant employment verification, simplifies the process by eliminating the need for manual checks and reliance on potentially unresponsive previous employers. Through a certified digital platform powered by Konfir, it verifies a candidate's employment history and addresses any gaps in employment within minutes, dramatically reducing the turnaround time for BPSS screenings.

Key Benefits for BPSS Compliance

Speed and Efficiency: Cutting down the screening process from potentially weeks to just minutes, enables organisations to make quicker hiring decisions without compromising on thoroughness or security.

Security and Reliability: By using data directly from trusted sources, this minimises the risk of fraud and ensures that the information used for screening is accurate and up-to-date.

Reduced Administrative Burden:  This automated process alleviates the operational load on HR departments, freeing up valuable resources for other critical tasks.

Enhanced Candidate Experience: A streamlined and less invasive screening process improves the overall experience for candidates, contributing to a positive first impression of the organisation.

With solutions like Giant’s Instant employment verification leading the charge, organisations can look forward to a future where employment screening is not a hurdle but a streamlined, secure, and efficient process that supports their broader security and hiring strategies. 

Recognising the surge in demand for the security standard, a BPSS clearance has become far more than a security measure within the public sector; but a cornerstone of trust and safety in industries beyond. 

Explore a faster, more secure BPSS process featuring Giant’s Instant employment verification

Mark Ramsey