Cabinet Office
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Government recruitment and jobs requiring security clearance

Government departments, suppliers and recruiters must follow a code of practice when recruiting for jobs requiring security clearances.

Read the personnel security controls guidance and the code of practice on national security vetting.

Cabinet Office guidance on personnel security controls explains that asking for security clearance before or as part of the job application process is not appropriate. Usually the recruiter can wait for a candidate to be security-cleared; the only exception is where the placement is genuinely urgent and for a short period of time.

We inform all government departments about guidance on recruiting for jobs requiring security clearance. The code of practice on national security vetting supports existing guidance and explains where it applies.

There were concerns that workers were being asked whether they held national security vetting clearance for certain jobs before they could apply. The Cabinet Office and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) set up a Security Clearance Forum to help government and related organisations follow the guidance.

Simon McVicker, IPSE Director of Policy and External Affairs explained:

Due to the hard work of the Security Clearance Forum, we now have a code of practice that goes a long way to ensuring a level playing field for all contractors. IPSE will continue to closely monitor client and agency behaviour to ensure the code is adhered to and we will be working closely with the Forum to guarantee action is taken against any misconduct that takes place in the future.

Find out more about security clearance from IPSE.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said:

It is important that national security vetting controls are applied proportionately and fairly. Job opportunities should not be limited because an existing security clearance is requested as part of the selection criteria. All recruiters are expected to abide by the code of practice and ensure that individuals are not unfairly excluded from employment.

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