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Because we’re a government organisation, we have a stricter security clearance than most other employers. If secure information is disclosed, or it reaches groups or individuals who wish to threaten the stability of the UK, it could impact on the security of the country. So it’s essential to ensure we safeguard against that possibility by obtaining security clearance for everyone working for us. When you begin your new role at SIS, you’ll fully understand why our security process was so rigorous.

What we look for

We’ll need to run background checks to make sure your life, conduct and personal circumstances are right for an organisation like ours. And we need to build a picture of a person we can trust to work with sensitive information. You should understand that the higher the level of security required for your role, the more intrusive the process will be. The security vetting is rigorous but fair, and we strive to be as sensitive as possible as we research your background, and other people in your life, such as your family members, partner/former partners and your referees. Third-party research may also include checks against criminal and security records.

How vetting works

The Cabinet Office directs how vetting should work across government, but each department can determine their own individual processes and make their own decisions. If you’ve been vetted by another government department in the past, we’ll review the information received to decide whether you’ll need to go through further checks for a role at SIS.

Each role has its own set of responsibilities and security levels to match. If your role changes while you’re here, you’ll be reassessed and vetting for a higher security clearance may be required. We always make sure your application is treated equally, regardless of your gender, marital status, age, race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability. And all of your personal data is kept secure and confidential.

The security levels

There are four main levels of government security clearance: Basic Check, Counter-Terrorist Check, Security Check and Developed Vetting. All employees of SIS, individuals seconded to SIS and most contractors working for us must hold Developed Vetting clearance, while some contractors may only need to be Security Check cleared.

Security Check (SC)

You’ll need this to access certain government facilities, or if you work in a role where you could access sensitive information classified as ‘SECRET’. You’ll need to:

  • Complete a security clearance questionnaire
  • Provide identity documents and employment/education references
  • Allow us to check against UK criminal and security records here and overseas
  • Go through a credit reference check

Developed Vetting (DV)

Our most comprehensive form of vetting, you’ll need this for roles that involve long-term, frequent or uncontrolled access to SECRET material. You’ll need to:

  • Go through the SC clearance checks above
  • Complete a DV supplementary questionnaire
  • Complete a financial questionnaire
  • Allow us to review your personal finances
  • Allow your referees to be interviewed by a vetting officer

Deciding to go ahead

We’re upfront about the security vetting process so you can decide if you want to proceed before you even apply or decline applying for work in particularly sensitive areas.

Unfortunately, if you don’t pass our security clearance, we are unable to give a reason for the decision.