The importance of SIA certification for temporary roles at visitor attractions

7 Oct 2022 / Artisan People

We work with museums, galleries and visitor attractions across the UK every single day, placing temporary staff in a diverse variety of roles. This ensures we are always up to date on what our clients are looking for – and if you’re looking for a temporary role, we can also help you to make sure your skill set is the perfect match. 


When it comes to visitor attractions, keeping visitors safe and retail stock protected is key. As a reflection of this, many visitor attractions are now requiring temporary staff to have Security Industry Authority certification for customer service roles. This could be so they can carry out door patrol in the attraction’s retail outlets or when invigilating in a gallery. So with this requirement becoming more common, we thought we’d take an in-depth look at Security Industry Authority (SIA) certifications.


What is SIA certification?

Established under the Private Security Industry Act 2001, the SIA is the public body that regulates the UK’s private security industry. A licence from the SIA is required if the work you will be doing is part of a ‘contract for services’ and involves a ‘licensable activity’. When we place temporary staff with clients, we are entering into a contract to supply your services to that client – so, if the role involves licensable activities, an SIA licence will be required. Under the Act, it is a criminal offence for anyone to engage in licensable activities unless they have a licence.

What are ‘licensable activities’?

Licences can be obtained to cover a variety of activities, including front line and non-front line activities, and we can advise you on which type of licence you will need. Licensable activities that could be relevant to temporary customer service roles at visitor attractions are:

  • Manned guarding – there are five types of licence in this category:
    1. Cash and valuables in transit licence
    2. Close protection licence
    3. Door supervision licence
    4. Public space surveillance licence
    5. Security guard licence
  • Key holding

Each type of licensable activity requires a separate licence, although some licences may allow you to carry out activities covered by other licences – it is important to ensure you are covered for all the relevant activities your job will involve.

Who can apply for an SIA licence?

To qualify for a licence to work in front-line licensable activities, you must: 

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Pass an identity check
  • Pass a criminal record check
  • Have the appropriate, SIA-recognised, licence-linked qualification
  • Have the right to work in the UK

How to obtain SIA-recognised qualifications

To obtain SIA certification, applicants must hold a ‘licence-linked’ qualification from an approved training provider. The government’s SIA website provides full information on what qualifications are required for each licence, and you can also search for a local training provider. The format and length of these courses will vary between providers and activities and could involve classroom-based learning, practical exercises and exams. 

How to apply for an SIA licence

Once you have secured your qualification, you can apply for your SIA licence. The application involves a number of checks, such as identity, address, age, qualifications, criminal record, right to work in the UK, and mental health, as well as checks on information from other sources. After you have submitted your application online, you will receive guidance on next steps – this will involve taking any requested documents to a Post Office that handles SIA licence applications. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation before you start your application – if your application is unsuccessful, the licence fee will not be refunded.

How much does it cost?

It costs £190 to apply for one licence, which lasts for three years. If you are applying for more than one licence, a 50% discount will be applied to additional licences in different sectors. Remember that each type of licensable activity requires a separate licence.

How long does it take?

It is important to factor in the time it takes not only to complete the training but also to process the application. There is no definitive timeframe for applications but you can use the SIA’s Decision Timescale Indicator to get a rough idea.

Who will it be useful for?

When it comes to temporary work, adding more strings to your bow is always a good idea. SIA certification will come in useful in many roles, and many visitor attractions, historic houses and retail outlets are looking for temporary staff who are also able to carry out licensable activities, whether that’s on a regular basis or just as and when required. 

If you have enthusiasm, retail experience and great customer service skills, we have a variety of flexible temporary roles at visitor attractions, galleries and museums that could be perfect for you. So, whether you already have an SIA licence or have been inspired to obtain one, head to our website to find out more.


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