What is SC Clearance?

21 Aug 2012

SC Clearance is a mandatory check designed for people working within the Government or private sectors whom handle or come into contact with secret/sensitive information. The SC Clearance check ensures that a person's character can be trusted to work in a job that has access to secret/sensitive information. 

Once you have been granted SC Clearance it can be transferred between government departments and it covers a wide range of job roles from IT and health to government, MOD, defence and private sector. 

How does one gain SC Clearance? 

Individuals cannot go through the process of gaining SC Clearance without being sponsored. They must be contracted, or in the process of being contracted to work on one or more specific MOD classified projects. For individuals involved in a large contract, an officer in the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) or Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) - typically a Project Officer will be your sponsor. For staff in sub-contracted organisations, sponsorship will be provided through the prime contractor. 

What is the process to gaining SC Clearance? 

The SC Clearance check is valid for five years for contractors and ten years for permanent employees. Professionals need to successfully complete all stages of the vetting process which includes: Baseline Personnel Security Standard, Company records check, Security questionnaire, Criminal record check, Security service check. 

On completion, all information is assessed before a decision is made to refuse or approve the security clearance application. Our top tip when going through the process is - 'honesty is key'. Even if you have previous criminal convictions you may still pass, dependant on what the charge was. For example, previous minor assault charges may not matter but if you have been charged with fraud it may be a problem. However, whatever your circumstance the best thing is to be honest, if you are caught lying you will ruin your chance of being security cleared as essentially, they are judging your character to make sure you can be trusted handling top secret/sensitive information. 

How long does the SC Clearance process take? 

Every check is different and time lengths may vary depending on circumstances. As a guideline, clearance usually takes about six weeks, obviously there will be other factors that can affect the process - for example, the high level of applicants in the clearance process. You would not be able to start the role until you had gained SC Clearance, so always check your clearance is in date or that you have a valid security clearance before applying for the job.

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