Security Cleared Expo Logo

17th October 2019 - London

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National Security Vetting

Security Cleared Jobs

National Security Vetting

National Security Vetting

'National Security Vetting is a process of examination and evaluation, generally referring to conducting a background check on a person before offering them employment.'

Why is the vetting system necessary and what does it aim to achieve?

The UK needs a security vetting system to protect the nation against threats from hostile intelligence services, cyber security threats, terrorists and other groups. Vetting concludes who can be given access to sensitive Government information or property.

Who does it apply to?

The system applies to people in some of the following industries whose employment involves access to sensitive Government assets; Central Government employees; members of the Security and Intelligence Agencies; members of the Armed Forces; the Police Service; Nuclear Power Stations and employees of certain other Non-Government organisations that are obliged to comply with the Government's security procedures; employees of contractors and consultancies providing goods and services to the Government sectors.

How does the National Security Vetting system work?

Candidates for jobs that provide access to sensitive information or sites are asked to complete one or more security questionnaires, which invite them to provide the personal details needed to enable the necessary checks to be carried out. Interviews may also be carried out. The depth of checks varies according to the level of regular access to sensitive information that the job entails.

How do I get a Security Clearance?

It is not possible for an individual to apply for a level of security clearance

First you will need a sponsor and you will not be sponsored unless they are contracted (or are in the process of being contracted) to work on one or more specific MOD or Central Government classified projects i.e. a third party company or a Government department that is List X approved.

Why does the Government insist on having sponsors for National Security Vetting? Why can't I just apply for a security clearance myself?

National Security Vetting provides a certain level of assurance at a point in time, as to an individual's suitability to have trusted access to sensitive information.

It does not provide a guarantee of future reliability and all security clearances are kept under review to ensure that the necessary level of assurance is maintained. This review is carried out by Government Departments and Government-sponsored contractors, who are responsible for the oversight and aftercare of individuals, granted a security clearance.

The main types of National Security Vetting are listed below and are processed by the following Governments agencies:

  • Defence Business Services, National Security Vetting (DBS NSV)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

There are 3 main types of National Security Vetting levels in the UK which are listed below.

Developed Vetting (DV)

This is the most comprehensive form of vetting and is aimed at personnel who require unrestricted or substantial access to Top Secret assets or secure environments. The checks include a number of in-depth personal interviews and references from people who are familiar with the character of the person being vetted.

Enhanced Developed Vetting, adding an additional level of interviews to the Developed Vetting process, where customers require a more in-depth check of their potential or current employees.

Security Check (SC)

This check is for personnel who require substantial access to secret assets or occasional controlled access to Top Secret assets. This process involves security checks and credit referencing.

Enhanced Security Check, adding an additional level of investigation to the Security Check process where customers require more in-depth information on potential or current employees.

Counter - Terrorist Check (CTC)

This check is for personnel employed in posts with proximity to public figures, access to information or material assessed to be of value to terrorists.  Checks are made on criminal records and other security information.


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