Guidance

Apply for ACS approval

What we check and how you apply for approval.

You will need to pass all of our application checks to become an approved contractor.

We can help you with your ACS application. Before you seek advice from third party consultants, please contact us.

What do we check?

You provide private security services regulated by the SIA

You cannot be an SIA approved contractor unless all of the following apply to you:

  • you provide private security services in the UK
  • you offer services in the security activities that we license
  • you provide those services under contract
  • you have provided those services for at least 12 months
  • you supply at least two licensable operatives in each of the activities for which you are seeking approval

Your business is ‘fit and proper’

We will check the identity, criminality, financial probity and integrity of the people running your business (often referred to as ‘controlling minds’).

We will take into consideration:

  • who controls your business and the licensable individuals you supply
  • any criminal convictions or charges relating to your business or its controlling minds
  • the financial circumstances of your business and its controlling minds
  • the integrity of your business and its controlling minds

Your directors are licensed

All directors must hold a valid SIA licence. This includes executive and non-executive directors, shadow directors, parent company directors and corporate entities holding a directorship.

Your staff are licensed

All security operatives you deploy must hold a valid SIA licence.

How do you apply for approval?

There are two ways to become approved: standard and passport. It is up to you which one you choose.

Either way will involve one of our approved assessing bodies, so you should talk to them as well. They may have a view on which route would work best for you.

Standard route to approval

  1. You assess your company using the ACS Self-Assessment Workbook (PDF, 2.22 MB, 92 pages).
  2. If you meet the required standard, you ask us to send you an ACS application form.
  3. You fill in the application form and send the completed form back to us. At the same time, you pay the application fee.
  4. We process your application and conduct our checks.
  5. If we confirm that you are eligible for approval, you arrange an assessment with your chosen assessing body.
  6. We will give your assessor all of the information you gave us in the application form.
  7. They assess your company and produce an assessment report for you. They also send a copy to us.
  8. We review their report and make our approval decision.
  9. If we approve your company, you pay the registration fee.

Passport route to approval

  1. You get certified through one of our accredited passport schemes.
  2. You ask us to send you an ACS application form.
  3. You fill in the application form and send the completed form back to us, enclosing proof of your certification. At the same time, you pay the application fee.
  4. We process your application and conduct our checks.
  5. We make our approval decision.
  6. If we approve your company, you pay the registration fee.

Fees you must pay to us

We charge two different types of fee:

  1. An application fee, which you must pay in full when you apply for approval. This pays for us to process your application and is non-refundable.
  2. An annual registration fee, which you must pay after you are approved and then every year for as long as you remain approved. This fee is non-refundable.

The application fee varies depending on the number of licensable staff in your organization:

  • Up to 10 licensable staff: £400
  • 11 to 25 licensable staff: £800
  • 26 to 250 licensable staff: £1,600
  • Over 250 licensable staff: £2,400

The registration fee is the same for everyone: £15 per licensable individual deployed

Other fees you need to pay

You will also need to pay your assessing body for your assessment.

ACS assessing bodies

We do not usually assess you directly, although we can if we need to. Instead, we ask assessing bodies to conduct the assessment of your organisation on our behalf.

The assessing bodies we are partnered with are:

All ACS assessors must abide by our ACS assessor code of conduct (PDF, 86.6 KB, 3 pages).

You should not proceed with a standard route ACS assessment until we tell you to.

SIA accredited passport schemes

We accept the passport scheme shown below.

NSI ACS Passport Scheme

This scheme covers the following licensable activities:

  • Cash & Valuables in Transit
  • Close Protection
  • Door Supervision
  • Key Holding
  • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
  • Security Guarding

Contact us

If you have any enquiries regarding the ACS, please submit these through your online business account (select ‘Contact the SIA’ and then ‘I want to make a business enquiry’). If you do not have a business account you can register for one.

Or you can call us on 0300 123 9298.

Third party advice

You may choose to use a consultant to help you with your ACS application. If you do, we recommend that you research and assess potential suppliers before choosing them. This will help you to determine the best option for your organisation, and also help to ensure you get value for money.

We do not train, approve, or enter into any commercial relationship with consultants. You should beware of any consultants who claim to have any such relationship with us.

Published 18 August 2020
Last updated 26 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Replaced the 'ACS Self-Assessment Workbook' document with the correct version.

  2. Updated the document 'ACS Self-Assessment Workbook'.

  3. Amended the 'ACS assessing bodies' section to remove ACM-CCAS and add British Assessment Bureau.

  4. Removed 'Alcumus ISOQAR' from the list of assessing bodies we are partnered with.

  5. Removed references to an ACS passport scheme that we no longer accept.

  6. Information added regarding ' Third party advice'

  7. Edited the 'How do you apply for approval?' section - we have closed down the Online Achievement Record.

  8. First published.