There is a lot of confusion and false information on various Social Media platforms regarding the Door Supervisor and Security Guard (now known as Security Officer) Top-Up courses.

Therefore, here is a little guide which covers both:
Everybody who took their original SIA training before 1st April 2021 will need to take a ‘Top-Up’ course before they renew their licence. This is provided they either have an active SIA DS or SO licence, or are within the 3 year renewal period after the licence has expired. For those who’s licence expired more than 3 years ago, they can’t do the Top-Up course and will need to start again (I.e. full course).

Both courses have a pre-requisite of having to have a current First Aid qual (such as the EFAW, or equivalent or above) with (a minimum of) 12 months validity remaining from the start date of your course enrolment.

We run the First Aid course as part of the DS Top-Up training course. To book the First Aid ad on, simply book the DS Top-Up and add the First Aid on the booking confirmation page.

Both courses also require you to take (and pass) a basic English Assessment which includes reading, writing and ‘face to face’ communication – Yes, I am aware that you already hold a badge – but as malpractice within the SIA training sector has historically been fairly common, this is an extra (insisted) check to ensure people have (at least) a reasonable grasp of the English Language.

DS’s have 2 options when it comes to renewing:

Option 1: Take the DS Top-Up that consists of 2 days classroom + some pre-course ‘self-study’.

*Option 2: Downgrade to a SO licence by taking the SO Top-Up training that consists of completing online learning then either attending a classroom to take your exams or by doing them online by proctored exams.

*NOTE: From 1st November 2021, the SIA changed the requirements of the SO Top-Up making it no longer possible to complete this unit solely by ‘self-study’. 

Option 2: Downgrade to a SO licence by taking the SO Top-Up training that consists of completing online learning then either a short session remotely using Virtual/Live learning or a short ‘face to face’ session with a tutor, before then attending either a classroom to take your exams or by doing them online by proctored exams.

Downgrading to SO:
The SIA prefer to say ‘transfer to a licence that is more appropriate for your role’ rather than ‘downgrading’ as the word downgrade makes the licence sound less important – however, it actually is, as in, due the licence integration benefits of the DS over the SO licence.

So think carefully before making the decision to downgrade as once you do it, you cant go back. As in, if you change your mind and want to be a DS again, you will need to start the whole process from the beginning (i.e. the full 6/7 days).

So unless your 100% sure you will never work on a premises (where alcohol is consumed on the premises), then keep / renew your DS badge. Many people just see the DS’s as working on pubs and clubs, but the reality is, licensed premises also include theatres, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, holiday parks, events etc + even if you don’t (immediately) see yourself working at any of these, it is also important to note that many employers pay more (per hour) for DS than SO.

Course content and assessment (DS – Top-Up)
Both options include the completion of Counter Terror training. The SIA have permitted training providers to either deliver the CT modules ‘face to face’ or by completion of both ACT modules. Therefore, in order to keep costs and contact hours down, many training providers (including us) will opt for the SIA ACT modules as pre-course. And TBH, these modules are probably better being done via the ACT Modules as they are actually pretty good / interesting.

We will provide you with a direct code within your course joining instructions (i.e. as part of the pre-course study).

If you want access to these modules now (independently):

Both of the Counter Terror Modules are available free of charge. All you need to do to get an access code is email the SIA at: CTcode@sia.gov.uk

If you decide to do it yourself (independently), then when you book your Top-Up training, you will not need to re-complete these units.

DS Top-Up (Content & Assessment):
The focus of the DS Top-Up is:
‘use of equipment’ (how to use clickers, radios, PPE, BWC’s ect), ‘Counter Terror’ (the 2 x ACT modules) a micro unit on global incidents and Physical intervention.

Assessments are:
5 MCQ exam (10 min)
on use of equipment + a 5 min video assessment of using a radio properly. The vid must show you using professional etiquette, call-signs, pro-words, NATO Alphabet and correct pronunciation of numbers etc.

10 MCQ exam (20 min) on Counter Terror.

30 MCQ exam (45 min) on PI, a videoed Q&A session around the risks of PI and a 15 min video assessment of you demonstrating all of the PI Skills.

SO Top-Up (Content & Assessment):
The focus of the SO is:
‘Minimising personal risk’ (this unit is made up of 12 assessment criteria so covers everything from personal responsibilities to usage of PPE, BWC’s, what to do in PI situation, conflict management to reflecting on incidents) (so a capture all basically), and the same micro unit on global incidents and the same ‘Counter Terror’ (the 2 x ACT modules)

Assessments are:
16 MCQ exam (25 min) on ‘Minimising personal risk’.

10 MCQ exam (20 min) on Counter Terror.

The cost of renewing the SIA Licence is the same as for new applicants which is £190.

For those who have more than 1 licence, the second licence is £95 (e.g. for those who have other current SIA licences such as SG and or CCTV).