Security clearance

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What is it?

For a range of Government roles – both employee and contract – you need security clearance: a set of checks to confirm your identity and guarantee your integrity and reliability.

What’s are the issues?

The trouble is that getting security clearance can be time consuming. So obviously, it’s easier and faster to take on a contractor who already has clearance. To stop this happening and keep a level playing field, however, the Government introduced a rule that contractors shouldn’t need to already have clearance to apply for roles.

Unfortunately, there are numerous reports of this policy being ignored. So in practice, this creates a Catch-22 for many freelancers, where they can’t secure Government contracts because they haven’t got security clearance, and it is difficult for them to get security clearance because they can’t get Government contracts.  

Not only does this situation cause problems for freelancers; recruiting pre-cleared contractors also limits the talent pool, costs money and hinders Government procurement.

What we are doing:

To address the issue, we called for the creation of a Security Clearance Forum where affected stakeholders could voice their concerns in person to Government officials.

The Security Clearance Forum

First established in 2012, the Security Clearance Forum closely monitors contractor vetting practices across Government departments and their recruitment agencies.

Bringing together contractors, the Cabinet Office, recruitment agencies and other stakeholders under an independent Chair, the Forum is a space where interested parties can work together to ensure a fair and level playing field.

It not only facilitates communications between the relevant parties, but also embeds best practices and develops targeted solutions where necessary.

In October 2014, the Forum also worked with the Cabinet Office to create a Code of Practice to reinforce the Government’s vetting guidelines.