Licence to Practice Private Security Industry (Scotland) Awards

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The Private Security Industry (PSI) Act 2001 means that anyone wishing to work legally in certain roles in the private security sector must have a licence.
The licences are administered by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

The SQA has developed a suite of three qualifications that are recognised by the SIA for licensing purposes:

The Licence to Practice Awards at SCQF level 6 develop knowledge and understanding of the Security Industry and develop practical, technical and transferable skills.

These Awards are designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills required to work in the security industry.

Assessments for these qualifications are all securely delivered online through our partnership with eCom.

These Awards are widely available through colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

The Licence to Practice awards are trusted qualifications having been developed by practitioners with the support of the security industry

They can be offered in any of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • evening provision

Successful completion of a Licence to Practice award would enable a candidate to apply for the relevant licence to work as a door supervisor, security officer or CCTV operator.

Who does this qualification suit

This qualification is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • those wishing to work in the security industry


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, it would be beneficial if the candidate possessed Communication skills at SCQF level 5 and Working with Others at SCQF level 5 or equivalent qualifications or experience.

NOTE: To apply for an SIA licence, the candidate must be 18 years of age or over and must provide proof of identity.

English Language – Pre-requisite for Learners
Security operatives are likely in the course of their work to be required to make calls to the emergency services, or need to communicate to resolve conflict. It is essential that security operatives are able to communicate clearly.

It is the centre’s responsibility to ensure that each learner is sufficiently competent in the use of the English language. All assessment must be conducted in the medium of English. Centres must ensure that learners have sufficient language skills before putting the learners forward for assessment.

As a guide, learners should, as a minimum, have language skills at SCQF level 5 or equivalent

Scribes and readers will not be permitted for those whose first language is not English.


The Licence to Practice Awards may provide progression opportunities to:

  • employment in the security sector, perhaps as a door supervisor, security officer or CCTV operator


All centres will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Knowledge and understanding will be tested by on-line, on-demand multiple choice question (MCQ) papers. The MCQ papers are generated from an item bank that has been developed by SQA. This method of assessment ensures that each candidate is presented with a unique examination paper and that assessments and re-assessments can be taken at any point throughout the year. In addition, results are available immediately on completion of the examinations.

SQA has joined with eCom Scotland Ltd, which is a leading provider of on-line learning and assessment, to provide the online, on-demand multiple choice question paper examinations. eCom Scotland Ltd has created a bespoke registration system that allows the training provider to book assessments at a time suitable for them.  In addition, the system has built in security measures allowing the direct transmission of the candidate’s digital image and signature, along with the results of the examination, to the SIA at the end of the test.

eCom online demonstration for the online examinations.

Practical skills will be tested in centres through observation of practical performance by a qualified assessor and externally verified by SQA.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Information about the qualification(s)

Qualification Structure

For details of the Units making up these Awards, please refer to the Qualification Structure and Unit Descriptor documents.

Group Award code: GK5G 46

The Award for Working as a Door Supervisor within the Private Security Industry (Scotland) at SCQF level 6 consists of 4 mandatory Units.

Group Award code: GK5F 46

The Award for Working as a CCTV Operator (Public Space Surveillance) within the Private Security Industry (Scotland) at SCQF level 6 consists of 3 mandatory Units.

Group Award code: GK5H 46

The Award for Working as a Security Officer within the Private Security Industry (Scotland) at SCQF level 6 consists of 3 mandatory Units.

National Occupational Standards

Unit information for this qualification is available on our Accredited Qualification Unit Search.


CCTV Operator

Door Supervisor

Security Officer

Information about delivery, assessment, quality assurance and support material

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