Changes to our Approved Contractor Scheme following the review

01 April 2019

On 01 April 2019 changes came into effect following the review of our Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) for private security businesses.
This is the culmination of a root and branch review of the scheme, during which we consulted extensively with approved contractors and the wider private security industry.
Evidence from the consultation suggested that we didn’t need to make fundamental changes to the scheme. However, it was clear from the responses that there were opportunities to make improvements.
We’ve published a refreshed ACS standard and new self-assessment workbook, which come into effect from today (available here).
Tony Holyland, our Head of Quality and Standards, says:
“We’re building on a quality standard that has already proved itself to be successful. We’ve now made a number of key changes which will strengthen the scheme.  We have worked closely with industry to get a standard that reflects best practice and provides a framework for businesses to help drive improvement”
Approved contractors should now undertake a full business review at the earliest opportunity to see how the new requirements affect their business.  That will give them the information they need to make any changes to ensure they still conform to the requirements.
A summary of the changes include:
  • The standard has been updated to put greater emphasis on service delivery. 
  • The self-assessment workbook (SAW) has been streamlined and made clearer and easier to navigate. The SAW contains the quality indicators that approved contractors must demonstrate that they have met. 
  • We have revised the eligibility criteria and 'fit and proper' conditions. We have put these into a new brochure - 'Get Approved'. This enhanced scrutiny will reassure clients and enforcement partners that they are working with some of the best-run businesses in the industry. Click on the link here to view Get Approved.
  • We are taking a firmer approach with PAYE, on the advice of the industry, to create a level playing field. Approved contractors must justify, with evidence, why their staff are not PAYE. This will confirm that businesses are employing staff on the correct basis, ensuring compliance with tax and employment law as well as making sure that employees of approved contractors enjoy proper employment rights. 
  • We are revising our approach to marketing the scheme and providing support for businesses.
  • We will conduct a ‘pre-approval interview’ with any new applicant business. The outcome of this ‘pre-approval interview’ will inform our assessment of the businesses compliance with our ‘fit and proper’ conditions, and identify whether there are any additional assessment needs.
For further details on the changes please read the bulletins on the ACS Review section​ on our website
We are hosting several events in May and June for approved contractors. The proposed agenda includes:
  • How are we supporting your business? SIA Operations staff are developing innovative new methods of providing support for businesses
  • Meeting challenges in a demanding market - how security businesses are using innovative methods to improve the service they provide

Please note the dates and locations of the events:
Belfast - Thursday 2 May
Edinburgh - Wednesday 8 May
Sheffield - Thursday 16 May
Chester - Tuesday 21 May
Bristol - Thursday 23 May
Birmingham - Tuesday 4 June
London - Wednesday 5 June

We will share booking links with approved contractors shortly.​


Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Our main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit The SIA is also on Facebook- this link opens in a new window (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter- this link opens in a new window (SIAuk).​​​​​​​​​​​