The REC has vowed to continue its efforts to reform the security clearance issue faced by many IT contractors who wish to take on government technology assignment.

Many IT professionals contracting as employees of Umbrella Companies do not put themselves forward for higher-earning government roles that require security clearance because the cards are stacked against them; pre-cleared contractors typically end up with the assignments to the exclusion of everyone else.

The REC’s policy advisor, Kim Regisford, sees some encouraging signs in current government pronouncements, however, and cites Lord Young’s recent report, which notes that “small suppliers (particularly in the area of IT) are put at a disadvantage when contracting authorities stipulate existing security clearance as a prerequisite for recruiting a contractor”.

With Lord Young, the REC Technology Group believes that capable contractors should not be excluded from the procurement process simply because they have not yet obtained clearance.

Regisford writes: “As a result we continue to work closely with PCG and the Cabinet Office as part of the Security Clearance Forum to promote effective management of procedures and reduce the over-reliance on pre-cleared statuses. The aim is to create a step-change in employment and productivity outcomes for employers and contractors, making the process simple, transparent and cost effective.”

A code of practice for recruiting contractors who require clearance will shortly be published by the SCF. It is intended to be adopted by government, agencies and commercial hirers, and should see the clearance process become considerably fairer.

REC executive committee member Lee Berridge, however, said that there is already no excuse for agencies and hirers to focus exclusively on pre-cleared people.

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