REC, PCG and the Cabinet Office
REC, PCG and the Cabinet Office call on recruiters to think twice about demands for existing security clearances
It has been brought to the attention of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, PCG and the Cabinet Office that there are concerns that workers are being asked whether they hold a security clearance for certain jobs before they are offered the placement.
Asking for clearance levels in advance of a posting breaches the guidance agreed with the Cabinet Office, except where the placement is short term or required at very short notice.
Commenting on this issue, Tom Hadley, REC Director of External Relations, explained: Contract jobs in sensitive areas may require a security clearance, however this should not be seen as a pre-requisite for the posting. In many cases clients can wait for a candidate to be cleared and it is important that these jobs are open to as many contractors as possible.
We are aware that sometimes clients may ask for clearances up front, but this should only happen when a contractor is needed at short notice. This advice is in line with guidance from the Cabinet Office and we urge clients and agencies alike to think twice before demanding a clearance up front."
John Brazier, PCGs Managing Director said: Too many freelancers are finding their path blocked by inappropriate requests for existing clearance. This is not just against the Cabinet Office guidelines, and detrimental to contractors, its also clearly harmful to end users who find themselves with a severely restricted pool of talent. Having worked with the Cabinet Office on the guidelines two years ago, we are pleased to see they continue to push this issue and we will be continuing to work closely with them to make sure the guidelines are followed.
Commenting on this issue, Cabinet Minister, the Rt Hon Angela Smith MP stressed that national security vetting controls are important, but must be applied proportionately and fairly. Where security clearances are necessary, an existing clearance should not be used as part of the selection criteria or inhibit access to jobs, except in rare cases where a contract is urgent or very short term. The Cabinet Office will continue to work with the REC, PCG and others to ensure vetting guidelines are properly understood and applied.
The REC has alerted members to the 2007 Cabinet Office guidance for many years and is working with the Cabinet Office to help resolve 'sticking points' where the guidance is not being followed.
Tom Hadley continued: "In any procurement process it is vital that all parts of the supply chain fully understand each others demands. We are working with the Cabinet Office and PCG to iron out problems relating to security checking so that contractors can be placed swiftly and safely into work.