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Security Vetting - understanding the terminology

BS 7858:2012, BPSS, NSV, CTC, SC, ListX and the Sponsor

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We often get enquiries about security vetting so we have provided below a summary to explain the various terms.

BS7858:2012 – This is the British Standard for vetting staff who work within the security industry, namely security guarding, security alarm systems, etc.

BPSS – The Baseline Personnel Security Standard. The BPSS is defined by HMG, Cabinet Office. The standard covers Civil Servants, Armed Forces, temporary staff and government contractors. The BPSS level of screening is required before an individual may be submitted for CTC, SC or DV vetting (see below).

CTC – Counter Terrorist Check. For those employed in roles that provide access to public figures, or access to information and material that may be of value to terrorists.

SC – Security Check. For those who require substantial access to SECRET information/assets but only occasional access to TOP SECRET information/assets.

DV – Developed Vetting. For those who require substantial access to TOP SECRET information/assets.

NSV – National Security Vetting. NSV is the collective term for CTC, SC and DV vetting

DVA - Defence Vetting Agency. The UK government (MoD) organisation that provides NSV.


The process for obtaining National Security Vetting is sometimes misunderstood. Commercial companies such as Credit Check Services can provide employment screening to the latest standards for BS7858:2012 and for BPSS. However NSV screening can only be carried out by specific government organisations, most commonly the DVA.

For NSV screening, namely CTC, SC and DV screening, the individual will require a “sponsor” (see below). The sponsor provides the necessary authorisation for a CTC, SC, or DV screening process to be initiated.

CTC, SC and DV screening is carried out by the Defence Vetting Agency (DVA) with the results of that vetting passed onto the sponsoring organisation, and then the pass / fail to the individual concerned. NSV checks can not be carried out by a commercial (e.g. non government) organisation.

Sponsor. Government organisation or ListX company with a specific requirement for NSV screening given the authorisation to sponsor an application to the Defence Vetting Agency (DVA) for security vetting.

ListX – The list of companies (contractors) providing services to government departments that are involved in employing staff that require NSV screening.

If you require employees to be screened to the BPSS standard then contact Credit Check Services for a quotation on 01992 719 234.