Most authorizations, once completed, are valid for a fixed period of time, usually five or ten years. This is because the authorized person is still working in the same job with security clearance, which can offer great prospects for both high salaries and long-term career growth. However, the process of obtaining authorization can be complicated. To make sure you're prepared, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about working in these sectors.
Anyone working for the government or an industry partner who requires access to sensitive information, assets, or equipment must obtain a security authorization. The United Kingdom Security Investigation Unit (UKSV), which is part of the Cabinet Office, oversees background research to obtain security clearances in the UK. The specific authorization level required for a position will depend on the company and the responsibilities required for the individual position. Authorization levels can change at any time, depending on any variation in responsibilities.
If you have been asked to complete a safety questionnaire, your role or a future position may require it. This could be because the assets and information you will access, if compromised, could pose a danger to national security. You can verify your security clearance with your current research officer. Alternatively, you can find more information through the UK Security Research Unit (UKSV).
The background investigation process can be understandably intrusive, but it is necessary to provide a clear understanding of each applicant. Having a security clearance is not mandatory and it's your choice whether or not you want to undergo the background screening process. If you refuse, it could affect your chances of getting employment in a particular sector, employer, or department. The volume of questions in the questionnaire may seem extensive, but most of them are very simple.
It's best to read the form in its entirety as you may need to collect additional information to complete it. You must answer all questions that are asked to you for the verifications to begin. If you are unsure of any questions, contact the person who provided you with the forms for clarification. If after returning the documents you realize that you have omitted any information, it is best to contact the UKSV as soon as possible as this may influence the granting of authorization. Make sure you have signed the questionnaire in all the appropriate places as this will avoid unnecessary delays in processing the application.
Each request for authorization is treated on an individual basis and will take into account the seriousness of the crime, the time that has elapsed since the crime was committed, the age of the offender at that time and several other factors. The best policy is to declare all convictions, exhausted or unspent including warnings as any attempt to hide a conviction can be considered proof of lack of trust or dishonesty. Depending on the level of security clearance you apply for, you must have lived in the UK for a sufficient period of time to be able to carry out the appropriate controls and provide a reasonable level of security. However, particularly sensitive positions such as those in security and intelligence agencies are reserved for UK citizens. A lack of residence in the UK will not inherently prevent you from obtaining a security clearance but decision makers will need to consider what controls can be carried out and the information available to make a decision. Depending on the type of security authorization you request it can range from three to ten years.
Misleading or hidden information in a security questionnaire or in the interview phase is considered a very serious matter. Your security authorization could be rejected even if the information you hid didn't initially cause a failure. If once authorization has been obtained and information has been discovered then authorization can also be revoked. The final word for whether or not to obtain a security authorization lies with UKSV, department or police force that requires it or to a security unit that carries out this task on behalf of several departments. Decision makers will consider all relevant information collected throughout research process and compare it with safety requirements of their work. All security authorizations are constantly reviewed by relevant departments and research units.
It's also important that if any of your personal circumstances change such as marriage change of partner or any criminal conviction then let your investigative officer know. If you leave vacancy for which you were authorized then authorization may be reduced or expire. If had DV authorization level then it will be reduced when exit to an SC level for period of 12 months from end date and then expire completely and authorization process will have to start over to obtain new authorization. SC authorization will expire again 12 months after left position originally for and again process must be completed again. Safety authorizations are carried out individually and are carried out for each specific job position. However if company wants hire employee or contractor who already has existing level of security authorization then company may hire person with their current authorization and then transfer authorization to its own background investigation unit and assume responsibility for authorization process up to its own background investigation. This not case in all cases as sometimes some government departments do not recognize authorizations other departments and therefore new authorization will have to be made. If denied authorization then organization that made decision must let know if have right appeal if so explain process will have follow depending on organization this can involve two stages with possibility of appeal against decision. It's important that if any personal circumstances change such as marriage change of partner or any criminal conviction then let investigative officer know so they can review situation accordingly.