Glenn Andrews, an IT contractor, is petitioning the Prime Minster Gordon Brown on the issue of security clearance regulations for contractors working on delicate public sector contracts. He is requesting that that new rules are brought in to allow all IT contractors to pay for a renewed security pass whenever the previous one expires.
His petition has been lodged on Gordon Brown’s website and claims that by permitting IT contractors to ‘self-clear’ to the required level of security will offer a “better choice” of candidate to clients and will promote a healthier job market for professional freelance workers.
As the system stands at the present time, contractors are often forced to wait for as long as three months while they are checked by the Defence Vetting Agency who must grant them clearance. Although some security checks can be cleared in a few days this is not always the case and this means that often contractors cannot take on projects which have short deadlines. The difficulty lies with current Cabinet Office guidance which states, “you cannot obtain work without a security clearance, but you cannot obtain clearance without work.”
For this reason, no IT contractor positions are being advertised by state agencies. Mr Andrews explains, “This is usually because they need someone to start right away and are not able to wait for clearance to be done, or it may be down to money as it is very expensive to get done.”
He also absolved recruitment agencies, claiming that in the majority of cases their “hands [were] tied” He continued, “Employers are dictating to them [recruiters] the need for clearance in place first, so it’s the Home Office that need to relax the rules as to who can apply for clearance.”
Mr Andrews’ security clearance expired in 2006. He has previously worked on contracts for state organisations and departments and is a highly experienced contractor. He is calling on all IT contractors to sign his petition.