The BCS Professional Certification Scheme
BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, is a global professional body for people working in digital industries. Formed in 1957 as the British Computer Society, the BCS has more than 68,000 members in over 150 countries. As a registered charity with a royal charter, the BCS endeavours to raise professional education standards and overcome ethical challenges to make IT a force for good in society.
As an independent examination provider, the BCS supports career development across a diverse portfolio of industry recognised qualifications. BCS professional certifications (formerly ISEB) are awarded to acknowledge an individuals ability to demonstrate the application of newly acquired skills and knowledge. All BCS certifications are aligned to SFIAplus, a globally recognised standard produced by industry experts and backed by the UK Government as best practice for identifying and expanding capabilities. BCS uses SFIAplus to map common skills and identify gaps within detailed training and development programmes. BCS qualifications are renowned for their independence, integrity, and impartiality.
BCS professional certification key facts
- Over 60 certifications across 11 core subject areas
- Available in over 200 countries
- Independent network of 76 Accredited Training Providers (ATPs)
- Exams are administered separately via Questionmark through remote proctoring
- Over 700,000 exams taken in the last 10-years
BCS membership benefits
Alongside certification, BCS provide a host of benefits free of charge to associate members.
- Professional recognition with post-nominal letters AMBCS
- Access to career development tools to plan and track personal development, including full access to SFIAplus
- TNetworking opportunities through specialist groups and the BCS Member Network
- BCS information services ensure members stay up-to-date with industry news, knowledge and best practice at the cutting edge of IT
- Exclusive discounts and offers
Another great resource to explore the latest industry news, videos and blogs from BCS is the Content Hub. It's also free.
Accredited BCS courses delivered by Freevacy
Freevacy is a BCS Accredited Training Partner. Our highly experienced trainers are qualified to BCS practitioner certificate level and possess expert knowledge of UK privacy and information access laws.
Whether you're taking your first step as a privacy champion or work full time as an information rights professional and are preparing for BCS certification, we're here to help you every step of the way. Freevacy offers a personalised service to all customers and delegates throughout the learning process, from booking through to exam completion. We aim to ensure candidates pass their examination with the desired results. When you purchase a BCS training course from Freevacy, you will receive:
- Comprehensive BCS courseware and manual delevoped in-house based on the latest syllabus
- Includes free lifetime updates (electronic version), which means the course manual will never go out of date
- Training delivered by authorised BCS training instructors
- A BCS practitioner certificate examination voucher for the relevant course
- Exam preparation material
- Unlimited advice and support in studying for the BCS exam
- 1-2-1 exam coaching
- Exam preparation day
- Mock exam
- Pass first-time guarantee, or train again for free on all BCS instructor-led training courses
- 1-year BCS Associate Membership (on passing first BCS Professional Certification)
- Fully inclusive, no hidden extras. The one-off cost covers the training, all course materials, exam voucher and BCS membership
Freevacy delivers the following BCS courses:
GDPR and Data Protection Training Certificates
The BCS data protection certificates are the only recognised industry qualifications to cover the General Data Protection Regulation (2016), the Data Protection Act (2018), and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (2003). The programme is available in two levels aimed at foundation and practitioner audiences. Emphasis is placed on satisfying organisational obligations and responsibilities in order to achieve business goals. Furthermore, there is now a clearer distinction between the two levels.
BCS Foundation Certificate in Data Protection
BCS launched the Foundation Certificate in Data Protection in 2014 to accompany the already established Practitioner Certificate. The programme went through a refresh for syllabus version 3.0, launched in July 2020, and is now re-focused to provide an entry-level awareness for individuals with little or no subject matter experience. The changes make the Foundation better suited for adoption by privacy champions, key personnel, heads of departments, and new compliance team members who require a fundamental understanding of data protection concepts and principles.
The BCS Foundation Certificate aligns with SFIAplus levels K1 and K2. Award holders will be able to remember, understand and explain data protection core concepts to carry out a broad range of tasks, use initiative, and schedule workloads. The grounding that the BCS Foundation offers will accelerate attendees' ability to develop skills and take on additional responsibilities before advancing to the Practitioner level.
BCS Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection
First launched in 1999, the BCS Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection is the longest-running practitioner level certificated training programme available in the UK. The latest update, syllabus version 9.0, was published in August 2020. No other recognised industry qualifications covering data protection come close to matching its consistency or longevity. It remains the most popular professional development course for people with privacy or data protection responsibilities and is often included in lists of required qualifications for new job vacancies.
The BCS Practitioner Certificate aligns with SFIAplus levels K3 and K4. Award holders understand how to use appropriate methods, tools, and applications and exhibit an analytical and systematic approach to problem-solving. These include taking the initiative and demonstrating effective communication skills, planning, scheduling, and monitoring. Due to its focus on UK legislation, the Practitioner Certificate is the most suitable certified GDPR training course for appointed Data Protection Officer (DPO), or those looking to become a DPO, along with any other privacy professionals with senior GDPR compliance responsibilities within their organisation, department, or group. Delegates will develop a deep understanding of both EU and UK data protection laws and how to apply them in a workplace environment.
Launched in 1999, the BCS Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (CISMP) is another long-established UK qualification. The CISMP examines the concepts, standards and legislation affecting information security management, providing a broad foundation of knowledge necessary to enter into various specialised roles. The latest version of the BCS syllabus (v9.0) shortens the course from 5 to 3-days.
Information Access, Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations
The BCS Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information offers an in-depth examination of the legislation, codes of practice, frameworks, standards and ethics surrounding information access within public authorities. As a recognised professional workplace qualification, award holders are often selected to lead disclosure practices of publicly held information within their organisation, department or authority. Alongside public authorities, this course is also relevant to private sector organisations directly affected by FOI or EIR legislation and indirectly by their contractual relationship with a public authority. The latest version of the BCS syllabus (v6.0) provides a significant refresh, with greater emphasis being placed on records management, corporate governance, and information architecture.
BCS Syllabus updates and courseware development
The syllabi for both GDPR Foundation and Practitioner levels are reviewed and updated every six months by BCS to ensure their relevance. The most recent syllabi updates consider data protection legislation following the end of the Brexit transition period on the 31st December 2020. The next update is planned for Jan 2022. The CISMP and Practitioner FOI syllabi are updated annually.
Note, Freevacy updates all BCS qualifications and courseware before every course to cover legislative changes, case law, and other developments not yet reflected within the current BCS Syllabus.
BCS offers pre-prepared courseware for training providers who have not developed their own course manual, presentations, documents and guides. This is a relatively new process for BCS. In the past, ATPs submitted courseware developed in-house for evaluation as part of the accreditation process. Freevacy continues to develop its own BCS training materials, which are more comprehensive and remain more up to date than those provided by BCS to certain other accredited training partners.
Freevacy develops BCS courseware with several purposes in mind. First and foremost, our manuals are designed to be used as an exercise book throughout the course and then as a revision guide to help delegates prepare for their exam. We also put considerable effort into ensuring that our manuals can be a useful ongoing reference tool long after the course has ended. For this reason, customers receive free lifetime updates of our BCS course materials (electronic version), which means they'll never go out of date.