Wednesday 28 October 2020

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What is the Approved Contractor Scheme?

The Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) has been designed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in consultation with representatives from across the industry, including NSI; its main objective is to assist and raise performance standards in the Guarding Services sector.

NSI was one of the first organisations to become an assessing body for the SIA when the ACS started over ten years ago.  Today we work with elite companies operating within the Guarding Services sector who wish to differentiate themselves as being amongst the best providers of private security services in the United Kingdom.

SIA ACS approval is not only a source of confidence for buyers of security services as they seek to select a trusted provider, it also provides an excellent framework for setting, improving and monitoring your own standards. SIA ACS approval is voluntary and instantly positions your company as having been independently assessed and meeting a recognised level of performance.

Being approved to SIA ACS demonstrates your company is committed to customer service and compulsory licensing of your staff. Your customers can rest assured your private security operatives deliver a quality service in any of the following areas in which you choose to be assessed:

Security Guarding Door Supervision  CCTV Operation  Close Protection 
Keyholding Cash/Valuables in Transit  Vehicle Immobilisation
(Northern Ireland)
Private Investigations


Advantages of being an approved contractor include:

  • Inclusion in the Register of Approved Contractors published on the SIA website.
  • Authority to use the ACS Accreditation Mark on stationery, livery and websites.
  • Approval may provide access to tender processes where ACS is a pre-requisite.

Why Choose NSI for your SIA ACS?

For over 40 years NSI has provided industry specific certification, raising standards in the interest of the customer and was one of the first organisations to be appointed by the SIA as an ACS Assessing Body.  The NSI auditing team are industry specialists whose knowledge and experience is second to none in the industry.

By choosing NSI you will benefit in a number of ways:

  • Our straightforward friendly approach
  • Highly competitive inclusive and transparent fees
  • You’ll be assigned one of our specialist ACS assessors who’ll provide impartial feedback on your ACS performance
  • A significant number of ACS companies we assess achieve ACS Pacesetter membership with a point score of 136+
  • Straightforward transfer service
  • Companies with NSI Guarding or Cash Services approval can save on ACS approval via the ‘Passport’ Route
  • Build a relationship with the UK’s most widely respected specialist certification body in the Guarding Services sector

Do I need a Consultant?

Whatever the size of your organisation, the short answer is ‘No’. We are often asked this question by companies who are considering applying for the ACS Scheme. We can provide all the information you need to become ACS approved without the use of a consultant.

Already have SIA ACS approval?  Transferring to NSI is easy…

An increasing number of companies are choosing to transfer their ACS approval to NSI.  This is a straightforward process and we would be happy to provide you with further information and a personal quotation. Email or call us today to discuss your ACS transfer:

Contact Kevin Carty, Applications Adviser, who will be happy to discuss your requirements, provide you with a competitive quote and guide you through the transition:

T: 01628 764854 E:

Routes to Approval

Standard Route

The Standard route is open to all companies – no previous certification is required. The route begins with you carrying out a self-assessment that will be verified by NSI when we come to visit you.

Please note: other certifications, such as BS EN ISO9001 and/or product certification such as BS7499 and BS7858 are not required to become an ACS Approved Contractor.

How do I Apply?

Follow the simple steps below to start your SIA ACS approval.

Step 1 – Download the following documents for assistance with your ACS application:

Step 2 – Download the SIA’s Self Assessment Workbook:

Step 3 – Once you have received your letter of eligibility from the SIA, contact NSI to make the arrangements to come and conduct your verification assessment.  Call us now for a quotation if you haven’t already done so.  You will need to have paid your assessment fee to us before we confirm our assessment visit date.

Passport Route

Already approved by NSI for Guarding or Cash Services? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you are eligible to use the ‘Passport’ route for ACS approval.  This means that NSI can combine your NSI audit with your ACS assessment, saving you time and money.  Find out more about our Passport Route

Contact Kevin Carty, Applications Adviser, who will be happy to discuss your requirements and to provide you with a competitive quote:

T: 01628 764854 E: