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April 2 2020

BS7858 has changed - here's what you need to know

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has issued changes to the BS7858 which sets out requirements for companies carrying out background screening for employees in a secure environment.

BS7858:2019 came into effect at the end of September and replaced BS7858:2012, which was then withdrawn on 31 March 2020.

Full details can be found in the BSI Standards Publication which you can purchase from them here.

We have recently seen a lot of misinformation published about the changes. As we are certified NSI Gold for screening services, we wanted to help clear up the confusion.

We’ve already written about the inclusion of social media screening, but as Verifile remains committed to accurate data and meaningful relationships, we’ve looked at the top three elements of BS7858:2019 that will be important to you.

The main changes are:

  • Removal of character references
  • Inclusion of a global watchlists check
  • Right to Work checks in line with DBS identity requirements (previously SIA identity requirements)
  • Inclusion of social media checks as a recommended best practice
  • Permission to passing on of a screening file from job to job.
  • Retention of each candidate’s screening file:
    • For those unsuccessful in the process for 12 months
    • During the entire employment period
    • After cessation of employment, specified records held for additional seven years
  • All people engaged in carrying out BS7858 screening should be trained for the duties envisaged

Of all the changes, there are three specific areas that we think are most important.

DBS checks:

There is absolutely no need to include standard DBS checks in BS7858 packages, as these checks are undertaken by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) when they first register the individual. Otherwise only a Basic DBS check is appropriate.

See 7.3.2 (c), and 7.7. (j) in the 7858 Standard, or refer to the SIA’s ‘Get Licensed’ handbook. Where an individual is employed in a position that is likely to bring them into contact with children or vulnerable adults, e.g. child and adult workforce, a standard or enhanced level of disclosure might be necessary.

Global watchlists:

7.4 (c) of the BS7858 Standard includes mandatory requirement to search various global watchlists, sanctions and fraud databases. Previously, the standard called for searching only HMG sanctions list. 

Social Media:

BSI are increasingly aware that what employees post on social media may create problems for businesses operating in secure and regulated environments. The updated standard now recommends you therefore carry our social media screening pre and post-employment.

The BSI say: “For some roles, it might be prudent to seek additional information using best practice social media and other open-source internet checks to provide greater insights and reduce risk.”

For more guidance on this, and some further best practice guidance on social media screening in relation to BS7858:2019, please see our previous blog.

Verifile’s BS7858 checks

Verifile provides packages that cover the requirements of the updated standard for those employed in SIA licenced/regulated roles, as well as those employed in a secure environment but not in such a licensed/regulated role. 

Our flexible approach enables us to cater for senior leadership roles and other risk factors and customise the packages for each of the scenarios your organisation face. Our increasing number of quick checks also allows for your business to access almost instant results, so you can get your candidates in their roles quickly, even on the same day.

As always, Verifile will seek to demystify the changes in updated legislation such as this. If you have any questions about how BS7858:2019 may affect your business and if you need to make any changes to your background screening requirements. Give us a call on:

Existing clients, call: +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or email:

New clients, call: +44 (0) 1234 60 80 90 or email: