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Security clearance guidance poses problems

Security clearance guidance poses problems for recruiters in defence and government sectors
CBSbutler, the specialist engineering and technical recruiter which operates extensively within the defence and government sector, has responded to recent press reports surrounding the issue of asking for security clearance levels in advance of a job posting - a practice that is against official Cabinet Office guidance.
The REC recently said that: "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.
However, according to CBSbutler, in a lot of cases this just isnt workable. The REC quite rightly needs to be seen to be supporting and adhering to Cabinet Office guidance regardless of how unworkable any directive may be perceived, says David Leyshon, Managing Director of CBSbutler. In the real world however, despite the Defence Vetting Agency (DVA) quoting 4 week waiting times, the process can take up to three three months. Employers operating in security sensitive areas will often have very tight delivery timetables with severe financial penalties if these deadlines are not met. This also reduces the opportunity to win further contracts. Consequently employers will consider their commercial risk exposure first and foremost and are naturally inclined to insist on ready cleared applicants.
Leyshon also points out that there is the added complication of the sort of clearance needed. Its not as straightforward as just having security clearance, he said. Defence clearance is transferable to government, but Government clearance to transfer to the defence sector can take much longer.


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