Secure Destruction of Confidential Material

BS EN 15713

Secure Destruction of Confidential Material

BS EN 15713 is the European, authoritative standard on data destruction, and should be the start for any organisation looking to improve its secure data destruction process.


The BS EN 15713 standard provides a structured code of practice for companies to work to for the secure destruction of confidential information for their customers. Security of information and ultimate customer satisfaction are key drivers through procedures being adopted correctly. Working to this standard will highlight the importance of properly training your staff, providing vehicles and buildings that meet the requirements and providing complete traceability to your customers for their peace of mind.


Some elements of the standard are mandatory and, during certification audits, any shortcoming against those will result in a “nonconformity” which will have to be remedied before a certificate is issued. In other areas, the standard is less prescriptive giving recommendations for best practice. When assessing a company’s performance against those, an auditor can show greater flexibility and if there is room for improvement the report will include appropriate recommendations and these will be followed up during the next year’s audit.


The standard covers the following areas:

  • Facilities – including administrative and operational ability to work to the standard
  • Security – requirements include an intruder alarm system meeting a minimum EN standard that is centrally monitored, security of items to be shredded from point of collection through to ultimate disposal and requirements on CCTV provision
  • Control of access/egress to areas utilised for shredding
  • Provision of contracts for supply of services and confirmation of shredding to customers
  • Requirements in the event that part/all of the shredding service is sub-contracted
  • Security screening of personnel and requirements covering confidentiality
  • How material for collection should be secured to avoid unauthorised access
  • Requirements for staff used in the operation and any vehicles used in transportation
  • Timescales for destruction of material following collection
  • Categorising what types of material you will look to take in for destruction
  • Recommendations on disintegration sizes of different types of materials
  • How you dispose of the end products of destruction

When a shredding company engages QSS to complete an assessment and certification process an “Initial Assessment” will be carried out to audit the company’s compliance against the entire standard. Following this (and subject to the clearance of any nonconformities) a certificate will be issued, usually valid for 12 months. Annual assessments are then carried out normally leading to renewal of certification for a further 12 months (subject to any nonconformities).


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