PAYE umbrella contractors seeking security-cleared Government roles are unfairly disadvantaged by a major market failure in recruitment procedures, a new study has declared.

The research was conducted jointly by the professional freelancers’ association PCG and the University of Buckingham Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, and it highlights a serious security flaw in recruitment. As PCG Managing Director John Brazier put it, “Security Clearance should not only keep the wrong people out but get the right people in and we are not seeing this basic premise functioning currently. This is a catch 22 for some of the UK’s most qualified contractors who cannot get a post without clearance or get clearance without a post!”

The research chronicles a number of high profile failures in security clearance. According to its author, Professor Anthony Glees, it is evident that the National Security system isn’t working. The right people are excluded and the wrong people are let in; there is no consistency and checks are not being made.

The result is that amply qualified candidates, including highly skilled contractors working through umbrella companies, aren’t getting a look-in, while those with pre-existing security clearance are unfairly favoured.

Cabinet Office guidelines are being routinely ignored, the report reveals, in order to accelerate the speed of the recruitment process for Government. Mr Brazier has called on policymakers to follow their guidelines more assiduously and enforce “a fair competitive market that ensures the country is paying for and benefiting from the best talent available.”

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