The Government Adopts a National Security Vetting Code of Practice
something APSCo has been heavily involved in developing as part of its role on the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employment’s (IPSE) Security Clearance Forum.
The new Code of Practice has been created in response to changes made to the Government’s approach to national security vetting in 2010 - which stated that no one should be expected to hold an existing security clearance to apply for a sensitive post - and calls for an independent forum of stakeholders in the recruitment process to ensure vetting guidelines are adhered to.
The Code of Practice - which can be found in full on APSCo’s website - describes the Government and recruitment industry’s shared commitment to ensure vetting requirements are applied fairly so no candidates miss out on employment opportunities because they do not hold an existing security clearance at the application stage. The Code of Practice details what each stakeholder group within the recruitment supply chain must abide by should they pledge their commitment to the Code.
Recruitment firms, for example, will be expected to:
• not shortlist based on existing clearance or any pre-conception of what clearance involves
• make clear when security clearance is required and to what level when advertising vacancies, and make clear that candidates with no security clearance will also be considered, where appropriate
• only take an existing clearance into consideration where there is a justifiable exception and
• help clients and candidates in order to provide information required to facilitate clearance being granted or transferred.
Commenting on this Samantha Hurley, Head of External Affairs at APSCo, says:
“APSCo welcomes the Government’s adoption of this new code of practice and will encourage those members placing sensitive roles to pledge their support to it. We were very pleased to be invited to sit on the Security Clearance Forum and help develop the new Code which has meant we have been able to ensure all parties in the recruitment supply chain are encouraged to abide by these rules, and recruitment firms are represented fairly. This has been an important process for APSCo due to an underlying assumption held by some stakeholders when the forum first met in 2012, and also voiced in the 2011 IPSE report & lsquo;Freelancing and National Security: Creating a Level Playing Field’ that it is the staffing companies who were not following the Government’s guidelines, limiting applications to those who were already security cleared to make their job easier. We felt that in the majority of situations this wasn’t the case, as the recruitment firms follow the explicit instructions of end-clients. We are pleased, therefore, that guidelines for all stakeholders have been included within this new Code.”