National Security Vetting and National Security Clearance

National Security Vetting

What is National Security Vetting?

The United Kingdom needs to protect itself from hostile intelligence services, terrorists, and other kinds of pressure group and in order to do this needs a security system in place. A key aspect of this security system is a vetting system as it ensures people who are in positions of responsibility within the UK Government and Government agencies are trustworthy and can handle the sensitive nature of the information to which they will be privy to.

What kind of employment requires National Security Vetting?

The National Security Vetting System applies to all those people who by the course of their employment have access to sensitive government assets. The following are individuals who will have been subject to national security vetting:

  • Crown Servants
  • Members of Security and Intelligence Services
  • Members of the armed forces  
  • The police
  • Employees of certain non-government agencies which due to their operations are required to adhere to the Government’s security procedure
  • Employees and contractors who provide good and services to the Government

Candidates who are applying for jobs which involve access to sensitive information or sites are required to complete questionnaires when applying for the job. When completing the questionnaires they are required to provide personal details and information which will enable checks in relation to each person to be carried out. As many of the types of employment varies in relation to the amount of information that individuals will be privy to so will the depth of the checks carried out which in some instances means that personal interviews may be undertaken. The more important the role and the information the greater the depth of the checks.

Which Government agencies are involved in the vetting process?

Vetting Agencies

The bodies which deal with the vetting process are as follows:

  • The Defence Vetting Agency (DVA)
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FC
  • The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
  • Security Industry Authority (SIA)
  • Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (ECRB)
  • Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)

These agencies deal with the information in the strictest of confidence.

The Ministry of Defence

In certain cases where following the vetting process serious risks have been identified details of certain cases may well be discussed with the Ministry of Defence and other security and personnel authorities. This is only in certain cases and is certainly not the norm.

National Security Clearance

What is meant by National Security Clearance?

As is the case when concerned with certain jobs the individuals require vetting before they can undertake the employment, certain jobs also require national security clearance.

What kinds of jobs require National Security Clearance?

Jobs located throughout the Ministry of Defence and the Armed forces, certain Government departments and agencies as well as certain private sector jobs which deal with defence related work all require National Security clearance.

Security Clearance – Sponsor

Individuals or companies cannot apply directly for national security clearance. They will be required to be sponsored. Only individuals or companies who have been sponsored and who have been contracted or are in the process of being contracted to work on specific Ministry of Defence related projects will be provided with the requisite security clearance.

Typically sponsors will be provided from the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) or the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO).

Security Clearance – Review

A security clearance provides a certain level of assurance and a specified time of an individuals suitability to be provided with access to various levels of Government information. Security clearances are therefore reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the necessary level of assurance is maintained.

Which bodies deal with National Security Clearance?

The following bodies, as is the case with National Security Vetting, deal with National Security Clearance:

  • The Defence Vetting Agency (DVA)
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
  • Security Industry Authority (SIA)
  • Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (ECRB)
  • Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
  • Levels of UK National Security Clearance

The following are the levels of National Security Clearance within the United Kingdom:

  • Developed Vetting (DV)
  • Security Check (SC)
  • Counter Terrorism Check (CTC)
  • Enhanced Baseline Standard (EBS)
  • Basic Personnel Security Standards (BPSS)
Developed Vetting

Developed vetting is required for people who have access to or will become privy to top secret information. As a result it is the highest level of National Security Clearance and involves the following stages of vetting:

  1. Basic Personnel Security Standard
  2. Department Company Records check
  3. Security Questionnaire
  4. Criminal Records Check
  5. Credit reference check involving a review of personal finances
  6. Security Service Check
  7. Check of medical and psychological information
  8. Subject interview
  9. Further enquiries which may consist of a character reference

Once all this information concerning an individual has been collated then an informed decision will be made. In certain circumstances where there may be a slight reservation clearance will be granted but will be subject to continual monitoring of cases.

Security Check

Security check is the second highest level of National Security Clearance and is intended for those individuals who will have access to secret information rather than top secret information. In certain cases they may have supervised or controlled access to top secret information but this will not be the same as for those individuals who require developed vetting. 

The following stages need to be completed for Security check:

  • Department Company Records check
  • Security Questionnaire
  • Criminal Records Check
  • Credit reference check involving a review of personal finances
  • Security Service Check

Once all this information concerning an individual has been collated then an informed decision will be made.

Counter Terrorism Check

This is essential for all people who will be working in close proximity to public figures or who will be working closely with or have to access to information to material of information vulnerable to terrorist attack. In order to be provided with this level of clearance the following stages will need to be completed.

  1. Department Company Records check
  2. Security Questionnaire
  3. Criminal Records Check
  4. Credit reference check involving a review of personal finance
  5. Security Service Check

Once all this information concerning an individual has been collated then an informed decision will be made. 

Enhanced Baseline Standard and Basic Personnel Security Standards

These do not provide specific clearances as in the cases of the above but are simply part of the employment checks which will need to be undertaken when considering employing an individual for any of the tasks previously mentioned.