Exemption from SIA Licensing

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 gives the Secretary of State powers to exempt from the licensing requirements those people who, though engaged in security duties, are subject to suitable alternative arrangements.

"Suitable alternative arrangements" is further defined by the Act as arrangements that are "equivalent, for all practical purposes so far as the protection of the public is concerned, to those applying to persons applying for and granted licences."

People applying for an SIA licence must be over eighteen years of age and must pass an identity check and a criminal record check. They must have the right to remain and work in the UK and may be required to provide a mental health declaration. If they will be working in a front line activity they must also prove that they are trained to the appropriate (SIA approved) standard.

Bodies applying for exemption from SIA licensing are not required to have an identical system in place; however, their system must be equivalent in regards to "the protection of the public". This equivalence will be determined by a comparison with the SIA's licensing requirements.

We have developed an 'exemption framework' (download size: 51kb) which we and the Home Office will use when considering requests to be exempt from SIA licensing.

Applying for an Exemption

  1. An exemption request proposal should be made by:
    • a government department;
    • an existing regulatory body, or;
    • the body that would retain oversight of the exemption prescribed circumstances.
    Please note that we cannot accept exemption requests from individuals or from corporate entities which have no regulatory function.
  2. The proposal should address each of the exemption proposal requirements (see below)
  3. We will discuss the exemption proposal with the body requesting the exemption, compare it with the criteria that are already in use, and then submit both the application for exemption and our recommendation to the Home Office.
  4. The Home Office will consider both the exemption proposal and our recommendation, and will then decide whether to grant the exemption.

    Please note that the Home Office may, when granting an exemption, stipulate the specific conditions that must be met.

Exemption Proposal Requirements

The proposal should:

  • Define the activity, its licensable status and its comparable SIA sector.
  • Define all proposed arrangements, which at a minimum must include:
    • training to a nationally accredited standard (and including conflict management for security guards)
    • suitable vetting
    • suitable regulation and monitoring
  • Assess and define whether the proposals outlined in the exemption request have any significant effect on small businesses.
  • Assess and define how the proposals outlined in the exemption request will apply to a range of businesses and individuals, assisting them in their activities, and the effect, if any, on market share or entry to the market.
  • Define how the monitoring, compliance and sanctions activities proposed within the exemption request are in place. Define how the government department or existing regulatory body or body that retains oversight will report regularly to the Home Office and the SIA on how the exemption is operating.
  • Define how arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the exemption request proposal will be delivered and communicated to those it affects.