Welcome to SecurityClearance.org.uk


What is Security Clearance?

Personnel Security vetting is carried out so that people may take certain jobs or carry out tasks that need a national security clearance. These jobs and tasks are located throughout the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, as well as in the private sector dealing with defence related work. In addition, a number of other government departments and organisations require Security Clearance.

How do I get a Security Clearance?

First you need a sponsor. Individuals and companies cannot ask for a security clearance unless they are sponsored, and you will not be sponsored unless they are contracted (or are in the process of being contracted) to work on one or more specific MOD classified projects.

For large contracts, an officer in the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) or Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) - typically a Project Officer will be your sponsor. For staff in sub-contracted organisations, sponsorship will be provided through the prime contractor.

Why does MOD insist on having sponsors for security clearances? Why can't I just apply for a security clearance?

A security clearance provides a certain level of assurance at a point in time, as to an individual's suitability to have trusted access to sensitive information.

It does not provide a guarantee of future reliability, and all security clearances are kept under review to ensure that the necessary level of assurance is maintained. This review is carried out by Government Departments and Government-sponsored contractors, who are responsible for the oversight and aftercare of individuals, granted a security clearance.

The main types of checks and clearances are listed below and are processed by the following Governments agencies:

  • Defence Business Services / National Security Vetting (DBS/NSV)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
  • National Security Vetting

Developed Vetting (DV) or (DV Cleared) is required for people with substantial unsupervised access to TOP SECRET assets. The following security vetting stages are mandatory before a DV clearance can be approved:

  • BaselinePersonnel Security Standard (Which is normally undertaken as part of the recruiting process)
  • Departmental / Company Records Check
  • Security Questionnaire
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Credit Reference Check and review of personal finances
  • Security Service Check
  • Check of medical and psychological information provided
  • Subject Interview and further enquiries, which will include interviews with character referees and current and previous supervisors

On completion of the vetting process, the information collected is assessed and a decision made to refuse or approve a DV clearance.

Once a clearance is granted, it is only valid for a pre-determined period after which a review must be conducted if the clearance is still required. The time interval before a review is required is specified in guidance issued by the cabinet office.

A small number of clearances are granted in spite of some reservations. Risk management requires follow-up work and monitoring of some cases. This activity is termed "aftercare", and may be required in connection with any of the above clearances.

Security Check (SC) or (SC Cleared) is required for people who have substantial access to SECRET or occasional controlled access to TOP SECRET assets. The following security vetting stages comprise a full SC clearance:

  • Baseline Personnel Security Standard (Which is normally undertaken as part of the recruiting process)
  • Departmental / Company Records Check
  • Security Questionnaire
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Credit Reference Check
  • Security Service Check

On completion of the vetting process, the information collected is assessed and a decision made to refuse or approve a SC clearance.

Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) or (CTC Cleared) is required for people who work in close proximity to public figures, or who have access to information or material vulnerable to terrorist attack, or involves unrestricted access to government or commercial establishments assessed to be at risk from terrorist attack. A CTC does not allow access to, or knowledge or custody of, protectively marked assets, but the baseline Personnel Security Standard which is carried out on all MOD personnel and contractors, allows a degree of access. The following security vetting stages are mandatory before a CTC clearance can be approved:

  • Baseline Personnel Security Standard (Which is normally undertaken as part of the recruiting process)
  • Departmental / Company Records Check
  • Security Questionnaire
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Security Service Check

On completion of the vetting process, the information collected is assessed and a decision made to refuse or approve a CTC clearance.

Employment Checks

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 and should be applied to:

  • All successful applicants for employment in the public sector and Armed Forces (both permanent and temporary)
  • All private sector employees working on government contracts (e.g. contractors and consultants), who require access to, or knowledge of, government assets protectively marked up to and including CONFIDENTIAL.

BPSS and EBS are normally conducted by the recruitment authorities or companies to the agreed standard, and because they underpin the national security vetting process it is vital that they are carried out properly and thoroughly and before any further vetting is completed.

Employment Assurance (disclosures) (EA (D)) are required by people from MOD sponsored units and organisations that benefit the MOD, who are being considered for employment with children or vulnerable adults. DVA acts as a co-ordinator for these requests.


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