The Cabinet Office and key industry figures have joined together to combat ongoing problems faced by IT contractors with regards to security clearance. Contractor group PCG told how many contractors are required to have clearance before they can even be considered for work.

John Brazier, PCG managing director, believes that such practice has a detrimental effect on the recruitment opportunities available to contractors. This sentiment has been echoed by cabinet minister Angela Smith, who said: “National security vetting controls are important, but must be applied proportionately and fairly. Where security clearances are necessary, an existing clearance should not be used as part of the selection criteria or inhibit access to jobs, except in rare cases where a contract is urgent or very short term.”

Director of REC, Tom Hadley, echoed: “Contract jobs in sensitive areas may require a security clearance; however this should not be seen as a pre-requisite for the posting. In many cases clients can wait for a candidate to be cleared and it is important that these jobs are open to as many contractors as possible.”

Speaking to Contractor UK, Mr Brazier concluded: “At the same time the Cabinet Office has written to the biggest 250 agencies in the country to draw their attention to this issue and remind them to observe best practice as well as having the guidelines published on the website of the Office of Government Commerce.”

Any concerns regarding security clearance can be relayed to the Cabinet Office at vettinggroup@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk.

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