Umbrella Company Employees seeking roles in the public sector often find that in order to get the roles, they must have prior security clearance. In practise, this typically means that institutional habits and routines rule the day: contractors who already have security clearance under their hats end up bagging the best assignments and get serially re-appointed, while outsiders do not get a look-in, irrespective of abundant experience or outstanding aptitude.

This could at last be about to change, according the PCG. The Cabinet Office, it reveals, has just issued government departments with new and unambiguous instructions on security clearance. In effect, the new notice is a reminder to procurement and HR directors that they should not consider pre-existing security clearance as a pre-requisite for a role. This should only be the case in exceptional circumstances, the notice makes clear, such as an urgently-needed role becoming vacant at very short notice.

The Cabinet Office notice also underlines the value for money pay-off that ensues by offering security cleared roles to a much wider pool of candidates. Routinely appointing the same faces to the same contracting roles merely because of pre-existing security clearance is evidently not an especially good means of achieving this end.

The details were shared with PCG representatives at the latest meeting of the PCG/Cabinet Office Security Clearance Forum.

The meeting also gave the final rubber stamp to the Forum’s terms of reference, clearly stating its full aims and purpose. These include promoting better compliance amongst government departments with approved guidelines, improving client understanding, facilitating better communications between the Cabinet Office and its stakeholders, and enshrining vetting requirements in a new code of practise.

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