The culture of security clearance has gathered a great deal of momentum in the UK, even though many commentators believe it to have grown needlessly excessive, with far too many people, including PAYE umbrella contractors, having to submit to lengthy and expensive clearance procedures for very little rational purpose. The latest voice to speak out against this viral over-emphasis on security is the Chair of the REC’s Technology Division, Jeff Brooks.
The REC maintains that too many job adverts demand that contractors who already have pre-existing security clearance should submit to new clearance procedures before they take up their new roles. To counter this trend, the organisation has called on all concerned to collaborate in devising more targeted security procedures and overcome what has turned into an employment barrier.
Commenting in the predicament, Mr Brooks said that everyone was in agreement that job adverts requiring pre-existing security clearance should be avoided. He went on: “Including as wide a pool of candidates as possible is best for the client, best for the recruiter and of course best for candidates seeking work. This is becoming more urgent as the ratio of qualified candidates to vacancies is beginning to tighten.”
Contractors working through either umbrella companies or limited companies generally pride themselves on their flexibility – they can move in quickly to take up necessary work in an organisation and then move on. However, continually having to submit to security clearances inevitably slows things down.
Mr Brookes was clear that clients as well as recruiters should work to make the system more efficient. He recommended clients plan their skills needs in well advance and avoid demanding security-cleared IT contractors to start work in two weeks’ time.