If you're looking for a new career in the UK that requires one of several common security clearances, such as security check (SC) or developed vetting (DV), your application will be processed by the UK Security Vetting (UKSV) office.
Part of the Cabinet Office, this department handles vetting for careers in the civil service, the armed forces, police, defence industry and other security-regulated sectors, so if you're applying for a position in any of these areas, the chances are you'll need to know about its work.
Earlier this year, the organisation launched a three-year programme to overhaul its operations, in order to make it easier for people to apply for clearances and increase inclusivity and diversity among applicants. And as part of this, it has introduced a new charter to guide its activities.
What does the charter promise to its users?
The charter is intended to make the process of gaining security clearances as transparent as possible and ensure applicants can have confidence they'll be treated fairly and equally by the UKSV. Chair of the organisation's steering group, Deputy Ambassador to South Korea Nik Mehta, noted that in the past many qualified candidates have ruled themselves out of security cleared careers because they're concerned about the vetting process.
He said: "I am convinced that this new, transparent vetting charter will make a difference in reassuring candidates that they will be treated as individuals with respect, kindness and dignity."
The charter covers all areas of the process, from helping applicants navigate the system to what to expect during an SC or DV interview. It includes the following six key points:
- To treat applicants with dignity and not be judgemental
- To provide a "helpful, efficient, effective and transparent" service
- To be professional
- To respect the applicant's privacy and protect personal information
- To only do what is reasonable to understand potential security risks
- To deal with complaints quickly and fairly
As part of this, the UKSV promises to be sensitive to any difficulties and concerns you might have about the vetting procedure, to provide as full an explanation as possible if a clearance is refused, and to have a formal appeals process if clearance is refused for existing employees.
What do vetting agents expect from you?
The charter isn't a one-way street, however. It also sets out a series of expectations for those applying for security clearances, and if you follow these guidelines closely, you'll stand the best possible chance of being granted the security clearance you're seeking.
It encourages applicants to be open and straightforward, and to engage with the process as completely as possible. This includes providing all relevant facts and information about your circumstances, as well as keeping the vetting agency informed of any changes in a timely manner.
You should also recognise that holding a security cleared role brings responsibilities and this does not end once your clearance has been approved. The UKSV notes: "We expect you to continue to engage with us for as long as you have a security cleared role."
Taking the time to make certain the information provided is accurate and as complete as possible will go a long way towards ensuring you have a successful outcome when applying for a security cleared position, and that you can maintain these valuable security clearances for many years to come.
Browse our range of security cleared roles today.