What is Security Clearance?
National Security Vetting is carried out so that people can work or carry out tasks, which in the course of doing so, requires national security clearance. Government organisations including the Ministry of Defence, Central Government, Defence Estates and the Armed Forces require Security Cleared personnel as well as Companies in the private sector contracted to undertake work for these bodies. Security Clearance levels vary depending upon the sensitivity of the information that is accessed.
The main Security Clearing bodies are:
There are four main types of national security vetting and clearances:Developed Vetting (DV)
- The Defence Vetting Agency (DVA)
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
- Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
This is the highest level of Security Clearance and is required for people with substantial unsupervised access to TOP SECRET assets, or for working in the intelligence or security agencies. This level of clearance involves Security Check (SC) and, in addition, completion of a (DV) questionnaire, financial checks, checking of references and a detailed interview with a vetting officer. To gain (DV) clearance you will normally have had to have been a resident in the UK for a minimum of 10 years.Security Check (SC)
is for people who have substantial access to SECRET, or occasional access to TOP SECRET assets and information. This level of clearance involves a (BPSS) check plus UK criminal and security checks and a credit check. To gain (SC) clearance you will normally have had to have been a resident in the UK for a minimum of 5 years.Counter Terrorist Check (CTC)
is required for personnel whose work involves close proximity to public figures, gives access to information or material vulnerable to terrorist attack or involves unrestricted access to certain government or commercial establishments. A (CTC) does not allow access, or knowledge, or custody, of protectively marked assets and information. The check includes a Baseline Personnel Security Standard Check (BPSS) and also a check against national security records. To gain (CTC) clearance you will normally have had to have been a resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 years.Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)
(formally Basic Check)and Enhanced Baseline Standard (EBS) (formerly Enhanced Basic Check or Basic Check +): These are not formal security clearances; they are a package of pre-employment checks that represent good recruitment and employment practice.
A BPSS or EBS aims to provide an appropriate level of assurance as to the trustworthiness, integrity, and probable reliability of prospective employees. The check is carried out by screening identity documents and references.Other Security checks and clearances:NATO
has four levels of security classification; NATO RESTRICTED (NR), NATO CONFIDENTIAL (NC), NATO SECRET (NS) and COSMIC TOP SECRET (CTS).
NATO's clearance levels function independent of any clearance levels for other nations. However, it is understood that for most NATO nations, granting of a NATO security clearance is handled in a similar manner to that of obtaining a national security clearance.MPS Vetted
Metropolitan Police Vetting is carried out for all members of the Metropolitan Police Service (police officers, police staff and members of the specials constabulary) Non Police Personnel including Contactors, Contractors representatives, consultants, volunteers and any person who requires unescorted access to MPS premises or uncontrolled access to police information.
The MPS has the following Force Vetting levels:
- Initial Vetting Clearance (IVC)
- Management Vetting (MV)
The Security Industry Authority operates the compulsory licensing of individuals working in specific sectors of the private security industry within the UK.
The activities licensed under the Private Security Industry 2001 are:
Manned guarding, which includes:
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
- Cash and Valuables in Transit
- Close Protection
- Door Supervision
- Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
- Security guard
- Immobilisation, restriction and removal of vehicles
- Key Holding
clearance is required for posts that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Standard Disclosures may also be issued for people entering certain professions, such as members of the legal and accountancy professions. Standard Disclosures contain the following; details of all convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC);Enhanced CRB
checks are required for posts involving a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults involving regular caring for, supervising, training or being in sole charge of such people i.e. Teacher, Scout or Guide leader. Enhanced Disclosures contain the same information as the Standard Disclosures but with the addition of local police force information considered relevant by Chief Police Officer(s).
There are three official criminal record disclosure services within the UK:CRB provides a service for England & Wales.Disclosure Scotland
is a service provided to manage and operate the Disclosure service in Scotland. Disclosures give details of an individual’s criminal convictions (and in the case of Enhanced Disclosures, where appropriate, non-conviction information).AccessNI
provides a service for Northern Ireland with Disclosures at Basic, Standard and Enhanced levelsLevels of UK Clearance
- DV / Developed Vetting
- SC / Security Check
- CTC / Counter Terrorist Check
- EBS / Enhanced Baseline Standard
- BPSS / Basic Personnel Security Standard
- NATO / NATO Cleared
- MPS / Metropolitan Police Service
- SIA / Security Industry Authority
- ECRB / Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau
- CRB / Criminal Records Bureau
FAQ on Security Clearance
Defence Vetting Agency
The DVA's task is to carry out national security checks, through a process called "vetting". It vets people in the Armed Services the MOD civil service, defence contractors, and certain other government departments and organisations.
Criminal Records Bureau
An executive agency of the Home Office which vets applications for people who want to work with children and vulnerable people.