Every industry sector has its own vocabulary and jargon. If you’re not up to date with all the different phrases and expressions used, then it’s easy to get lost in confusion about what is actually being said. We’ve put together a handy glossary to help explain some of the most common phrases in plain English.

DBS – DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This is the organisation in England and Wales which does criminal records checks for people working in that area of the UK. Your employer will be able to let you know whether you need a DBS check or not.

PVG – PVG stands for Protecting Vulnerable Groups and is the name of the system in Scotland for the most detailed level of criminal records checking.

Right to Work Check – this is the legal requirement for employers to check that the people they are employing have the legal right to work in the UK. A right to work check usually involves employers seeing passports to verify nationality.

Screening – Screening is just another word for checking. In some situations, screening is used to mean checks carried out at an earlier stage of the recruitment process, in order to make sure that you’re not wasting time interviewing unsuitable candidates. More frequently however, it’s used to mean the same thing as checking.

Vetting – Again, vetting is another word which means the same as checking or screening. Vetting was formerly used in connection with government or military positions but now is used in a wide range of other situations too.

Verification – Verification just means fact checking, so in an employment context this means looking at facts you have given on your application form or CV and checking to make sure you’ve told the truth.

BPSS – BPSS is Baseline Personnel Security Standard and is the screening which is usually carried out for people working in government departments. For people with access to sensitive data, a higher level of checking might be required.

RICE Framework – the “RICE” acronym covers the basic checking which employers should be doing: Right to Work, Identity, Criminal Record and Employment History.

Background Check – this is a term which isn’t specific and can mean a range of things, from a very quick check into someone’s references, to full-on checking every fact on a CV and running a full credit check.

Credit Check – this is an investigation into someone’s financial history, usually carried out in connection with jobs in banks or other financial services. Employers will always ask for consent before carrying out a credit check.

Security Clearance – government and defence jobs, or roles in police or Armed Forces may use the term “security clearance” instead of vetting or background checking. This process is more about assessing someone’s criminal background, to ensure they don’t pose a security risk.

GDPR – this acronym is the General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR sets out the rules about how your personal information should be stored and processed. In basic terms, it should mean that anything sensitive discovered on a background check should be kept confidential.