As a business owner with cross-border operations, you may sometimes require employees to have access to classified information. This means you need to comply with the UK’s national security policies.
The UK government has strict regulations in place for vetting individuals who need access to sensitive information – one such clearance level is SC clearance, or Security Check clearance.
SC clearance is a security clearance level that enables individuals to access information that’s classified as ‘SECRET’ and above. The clearance process involves a background investigation, questionnaire, and interview to determine an individual’s eligibility.
Security Check clearance is a UK confidentiality accreditation, designed to safeguard national interests and control access to information which the government deems sensitive. SC clearance enables individuals to access confidential information classified as ‘SECRET’ or above.
The clearance process involves a thorough vetting process, including a background investigation, questionnaire, and interview to determine an individual’s eligibility.
The government processes, on average, 164,700 CTC and SC clearances per year (National Audit Office), and it’s necessary for those who require access to sensitive information for their job – especially those in defence, cybersecurity, and government roles.
SC clearance is crucial for businesses operating in the UK that deal with classified information and require employees with “long-term, frequent, and uncontrolled access to SECRET assets or occasional, supervised access to TOP SECRET assets” (United Kingdom Security Vetting).
Security Checks are necessary for individuals who require access to classified information as part of their job.
The government stipulates that “long-term, frequent, and uncontrolled access to SECRET assets or occasional, supervised access to TOP SECRET assets” (Ministry of Justice) are grounds for seeking SC clearance. For instance, this would apply to individuals:
To be eligible for SC clearance, applicants must meet the following requirements:
Note that these are general requirements and specific job positions may have additional or more stringent eligibility criteria.
The government lays out seven levels of vetting and security clearance, each more tightly-controlled and exacting than the last. Security Check clearance sits at approximately the midway point.
|The UK government security vetting hierarchy|
|BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard)||Civil servants, members of the armed forces, temporary staff in departments, and government contractors.||UK OFFICIAL assets and occasional access to UK SECRET assets.|
|AC (Accreditation Check)||Individuals who require an Airport Identification Card or UK Crew Identification Card. Aviation security trainers.||Security-restricted area of UK airports. Aviation-related assets.|
|CTC (Counter Terrorist Check)||Individuals working in proximity to at-risk public figures, with access to data/assets of value to terrorists.||Public figures, locations and information at risk from terrorist attacks.|
|SC (Security Check)||Individuals with uncontrolled access to SECRET assets and occasional access to TOP SECRET assets.||SECRET assets frequently. TOP SECRET assets, with supervision.|
|eSC (Enhanced Security Check)||Positions requiring access to SECRET code word material. Certain overseas posts under threat from espionage.||Material requiring additional assurance above SC, but not to DV level.|
|DV (Developed Vetting)||Individuals requiring frequent, uncontrolled access to TOP SECRET assets / any access to TOP SECRET codeword material.||TOP SECRET assets. TOP SECRET codeword material.|
|eDV (Enhanced Developed Vetting)||A very small number of posts where additional assurances are required above DV level.||The most sensitive national and international material / assets.|
Applying for SC clearance can seem a somewhat long-winded or troublesome process, but it is mandatory for those who require access to classified information, and the penalties for failing to obtain accreditation far outweigh the inconvenience of applying.
Below, we’ll guide you through the steps of the SC clearance application process, so you can be confident in your understanding of what is required.
In order to navigate the application process as smoothly and efficiently as possible, it’s advisable to obtain specialist trade consultancy services. Contact us now to learn how we can help your organisation get the accreditation it requires.
Obtaining Security Check clearance is not just a legal requirement for individuals and organisations who require access to classified information; it also offers significant business benefits for employers.
So what are the advantages of holding SC clearance for businesses and their employees?
With the right preparation and approach, making an SC application can be a seamless process.
We’d strongly recommend contacting our specialist team to help you prepare; beyond this, we’ve put together some expert tips that will give you the best chance of a successful application.
There are a range of reasons why you, your organisation, or a staff member might need to seek formal security clearances. It could be private sector employees working with access to sensitive information, or government departments with interests linked to national security and intelligence agencies.
Whatever the case, if you conduct cross-border operations and want some impartial, independent advice on gaining the clearances you require, we’re here to help.
Here at clearBorder, we offer a number of specialist training modules, such as Border Ready Importing & Exporting, to help get your team border-ready. You can take advantage of our expert consultancy services for bespoke advice and practical guidance on ensuring your operations run smoothly, efficiently and profitably, both now and in the future. Just contact us today to speak to a member of our team.