ACS Review

The Approved Contractor Scheme is reviewed periodically to ensure that it:

  1. continues to serve the needs of security suppliers and buyers, and
  2. identifies any ways in which the Scheme may be improved.

Previously these reviews were undertaken on an annual basis, as specifically required by a Direction from the Secretary of State. This is no longer the case, and a review may be undertaken as and when it is required.

2017-18 Review

A fundamental review of the scheme is being conducted in partnership with research company Pye Tait. It will look at all aspects of the scheme, including:

  • Benefits - a review of the benefits that the scheme can bring to its members
  • Recognition - ensure approved contractors get proper recognition for meeting high standards
  • A new standard - ensure that the new standard is fit for purpose and reflects best practice
  • Scheme operation - assessment and customer service activities that are fair and transparent

Phase One Findings

The extensive consultation process in phase one has been completed. Our delivery partner Pye Tait has summarised the main findings and recommendations from the research, which are available to download from the ACS review portal.

Go to the ACS review portal- this link opens in a new window

Our response to the research

Phase one of this project has highlighted a number of emerging themes which have influenced our thinking on how we can strengthen and improve the ACS. As a result we have taken some strategic decisions in relation to the future of the Scheme.

Previous Reviews


The 2013 review predominantly considered how the voluntary scheme should develop alongside the new business licensing regime. Proposals include plans for the voluntary ACS to be run outside the SIA, once compulsory business regulation is established.

Documents Relating to the 2012 Review:


The 2012 review focused on raising standards within a single area: the training, development and competency of employees. The ACS Strategy and Standards Group led on the proposals for change, which were opened out for wider consultation from 24 April to 30 June 2012. These changes were subsequently agreed and were implemented from 1 January 2013, becoming mandatory from 1 April 2013.


The 2011 review sought to gather views of the scheme.

The nature of regulation within the private security industry is anticipated to change significantly in the next few years and with this in mind, the 2011 review sought to build a picture of the current status.

Documents Relating to the 2011 Review:


The 2010 review focussed on simplification and enhancement of the ACS Self Assessment Workbook.

The review recommended some important changes to the ACS Standard and the workbook (see document below). These changes were subsequently agreed by the Home Office and were implemented in November 2011.

Documents Relating to the 2010 Review:


The 2009 review focussed on the arrangements for ACS assessments and the potential for differentiation within the scheme. As with previous reviews, fee levels remained outside the scope of the review.

Documents Relating to the 2009 Review:

2008 and 2007

The 2008 and 2007 reviews were conducted on our behalf by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), with a focus on ACS eligibility requirements and routes to approval. Fee levels remained outside of scope. John Harkin, from the OGC, conducted the reviews and reported his findings in February 2007 and again in February 2008. The Home Office and SIA Board considered and responded to the points raised.

Documents Relating to the 2008 Review:

Documents Relating to the 2007 Review: