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DBS Check Pushes up SIA Costs

Apply for a DBS Check

According to an official review of the Disclosure and Barring Service by the Home Office, the process for getting a licence to operate as door staff might soon be changing. Door staff – commonly known as bouncers – are regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and must have a licence issued by the SIA to get work. At present, getting this licence involves applying for a standard DBS check. New proposals mean that door staff may be required to undergo enhanced checks with a barred list check, which is a more detailed level of checking than is required currently. The proposal suggests that the more detailed level of criminal records checking, though more expensive, is needed to improve standards in the industry, particularly for door supervisors and close protection operatives.


Cost of SIA Application

People wishing to work in the security industry as door staff or in personal protection are usually self-employed and fund their own application fee for their SIA licence and DBS check. With a standard DBS check priced at £18 and an enhanced check at £38, increasing the detail of check needed for security staff may mean the SIA application fee may need to rise by £20.

The SIA has recently reduced the fee for getting a licence from £190 to £184 on April 6, saying that it was passing on efficiency and cost savings to its members. The review highlighted the importance of the extra level of safeguarding for customers but acknowledges that this will mean more expense for door staff.


Delays in DBS System

One issue flagged by the Home Office review concerns delays in the DBS system, with more detailed enhanced checks taking longer than the standard checks which are currently required. However, the Home Office concluded that the potential higher risk to both adults and children justified the additional safeguarding measures.


Application through the SIA

Applicants for an SIA license must agree to the DBS providing the certificate directly to the SIA. This is unusual for the disclosure process, as certificates are generally sent to the applicant, who in turn provides it to their employer, or official body. The scale of the changes also could impact workers in other sectors due to the increased volume of enhanced applications in the system. As of August 1, 2022, the total number of active SIA licence holders was approximately 400,000, with door supervision accounting for 300,000 and close protection for 15,000 people. Having a door supervision licence is a popular choice due to its flexibility, allowing holders to work as security guards as well. Many licence holders are not full-time in the security industry but use this line of work to top-up work in different sectors, or to fund their studies.


Update System

The SIA is considering asking door staff and other security workers to enrol in the DBS Update service to keep their disclosure certificate current. There is an annual subscription charge for Update, but this is cheaper than having a new enhanced disclosure check each time the SIA licence needs to be renewed.