Changes to 'Get Licensed'


On 1 March 2018 we published a new version of Get Licensed. The changes we have made are briefly described below.

Get Licensed has been updated to make it easier to read and understand. This has been done by changing the language and structure of the document. There have also been some minor changes to clarify the meaning of criteria, make the meaning of criteria more explicit or correct errors.

Criteria have also been changed to reflect legal changes and a court decision that have happened since the last version of Get Licensed was published in April 2013.

In addition, this update ensures that Get Licensed focuses on the purpose it is given by s.7 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001: to be a publication containing the criteria used in licensing. Most content that is not criteria has been removed.


The updated version of Get Licensed uses the third person to ensure that the meaning of criteria is precise. We are referred to as "the SIA" while applicants and licence holders are "applicants" and "licence holders" respectively.

Non-criteria information on licensable roles and licensable activities

Information on licensable roles, licensable activities and licensed premises that is not criteria has been removed. This information continues to be available on our website.

Non-criteria information on applications

Information on the application process that is not criteria that has been removed. This information continues to be available on our website. The information that has been removed relates to:

  1. multiple licences;
  2. licence renewals;
  3. application processing times;
  4. licence validity;
  5. the register of licence holders; and
  6. professional recognition arrangements for EEA applicants

Getting a Licence chapter

The previous version of Get Licensed stated that we may seek information to confirm that an applicant has the right to remain and work in the UK. This wording did not make clear the long-standing policy that:

  1. a right to work is a requirement for obtaining a front line licence; and
  2. that there are some circumstances (e.g. in relation to a non-UK resident director of a UK registered company) in which a non-front line licence will be issued to someone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Criminal Records Checks chapter

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2013 introduced provisions for "protected convictions." Prior to this we had been excluded from Section 4 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and so we were able to see, ask about and take into account all previous convictions when making licensing decisions. However, the effect of this Order is that we are no longer excluded in relation to "protected disclosures" and so cannot see, ask about and take into account certain convictions made in Scotland. The section on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 in Get Licensed has been amended to reflect this legal change (see page 16).

Although Get Licensed sets out how we will consider an application from someone who is awaiting trial for relevant offences, the previous version did not state that applicants must inform us of the existence of these charges at the point of application. This point has now been clarified (see page 21).

It has been made more explicit in the section on ex-juvenile offenders that the rules on multiple convictions/disposals that apply to relevant adult offences do not apply to assessments of juvenile offences (see page 21).

When the assessment grid for adult offences was updated several years ago to reflect changes in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the Single Juvenile Offence assessment grid in Get Licensed was not updated to reflect these changes. This means that the previous version of Get Licensed incorrectly states some of the periods of time since sentence restrictions ended. The ">24mths to 6yrs" period should be ">24mths to 4yrs" and the ">5yrs to <10yrs" period should be ">4yrs to <7yrs." This oversight has been corrected in the new version of Get Licensed (see page 22).

The previous version of Get Licensed stated in the Use of Other Information section that "CCTV evidence of assault would be considered as serious as the offence of assault." The sentence with this example has been removed because it is potentially confusing. This is because evidence such as CCTV footage is considered to see if it shows that someone is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence. It is not considered to see if it shows evidence of assault and we could not treat such footage as seriously as a conviction for assault if a conviction for assault did not exist. However, CCTV and other video footage is a source of information and so this section keeps a reference to it (see page 24).

The wording of the section on what an applicant has to do if they have lived or worked overseas has been changed to make it clear that when sending a translation of a criminal record check, that translation must have been provided by a professionally accredited translator (see page 24). This is to remove the possibility that an applicant might submit a translation they have done themselves or which has been done through a service like Google Translate.

A reference to HM Forces has been removed from the section on armed forces records certificates (see page 25). This is because we can and do accept these certificates from other armed forces in the world and the wording of the previous wording of Get Licensed was ambiguous on this point.

The list of professionals a character reference can be obtained from has been added to Get Licensed. This is because it is arguably criteria and is necessary for readers to fully understand other criteria. This list has also been updated, e.g. post office workers has been removed and GPs have been added (see page 26).

Other Criteria chapter

We have received advice from outside Counsel that the Use of Other Information section enables us to refuse a licence to someone with an ancillary order if we consider that being subject to such an order means (a) that a person cannot be considered a fit and proper person to hold a licence and (b) granting them a licence might bring the industry into disrepute. An example of when this would be appropriate is where an applicant is subject to sexual offences notification requirements. A reference to ancillary orders has been added to this section to make it clearer that we are able to use information relating to ancillary orders in this way (see page 24). This section has also been moved to the Criminal Records Check chapter.

Revisiting decisions

The previous version of Get Licensed stated that we have no power to revisit a decision without the direction of a court. The decision in Chaudhuri -v- General Medical Council [2015] EWHC 6621 (Admin) means that this is no longer true. It was ruled in this case that public bodies have an inherent or implied power to revisit or revoke any decision vitiated by a mistake as to the facts upon which the decision was based.

The wording of Get Licensed has been changed to reflect the new legal position, with changes to the text in the Refusing a License chapter (see page 29) and Revoking a License chapter (see page 35).

Suspending a Licence chapter

The wording of this chapter has been changed to clarify how consideration of a threat to public safety or the public interest will affect a decision on whether or not to suspend a licence (see page 36).

Revoking a Licence chapter

The previous version of Get Licensed stated that a licence will be revoked if a licence holder is "not the person to whom the named licence has been issued." This use of language is vague and not strictly accurate in situations in which someone is using a stolen licence. This section has now been changed (see page 35) to make clear that licences can be revoked in circumstances in which:

  1. the licence holder has obtained the licence using fraudulent documents and/or fraudulent identity; or
  2. if the licence has been used by someone other than the licence holder (i.e. the licence has been lent to someone who is unlicensed).