What is Security Clearance?
Before you can start any role within the UK defence or public sector, more often than not, you will need to obtain security clearance. And of course, just because you’ve been security cleared before, it doesn’t mean you are exempt from further security checks in the future as national security policies change and the expectations within different jobs evolve.
Where do I start?
Clearance is requested by an employer and carried out by Government agencies. It is then granted for a specific period of time depending on the employment term or for a particular project. However, Security Clearance can be verified and transferred to a new employer if required.
If a role requires you to be security cleared, the relevant security checks will be arranged by the person hiring you but will be carried out by a Government agency. As a minimum, you’ll be asked to prove your identity (including your nationality and immigration status) and complete a Criminal Record Declaration Form. Higher levels of clearance tend to require more intense background checks on your criminal record, a credit reference check and a security service check.
How long does it take?
Depending on the level of vetting required, security clearance can take anywhere between 1-2 days (BPSS), 6-8 weeks (CTC) or six months DV (CTC and DV), with Security Checks taking between 4-12 weeks.
So what are the benefits?
IT professionals who hold Security Clearance are in very high demand and tend to receive higher remuneration than their non-SC cleared counterparts. Holding an SC Clearance opens more doors for employment in the future because even if an individual applies for a job which in itself does not require Security Clearance, the fact that they hold one and have worked in a role which requires it is a strong selling point.