Contractors' Questions: Will poor credit history stop my Security Clearance?

Contractor’s Question: I’ve just landed my first contract and heard I can start on BPSS Clearance (which has come through). But next, I must go through Security Clearance and I’m worried because although I don’t have a criminal record, I have six defaults on my credit file.

All dating from the same month of 2013, their total is £10,000, but these unsecured debts are now being back paid via a Debt Management Plan. I plan to full disclose every detail to the penny. But it will stop me from obtaining SC? I’ve got no bankruptcies or CCJs.

Expert’s Answer: Your situation is very similar to those of many other contractors who are required to pass a Security Clearance for a new contract.

We called for the formation of the Security Clearance Forum which brings together the relevant government officials and affected stakeholders to improve clarity, communication, compliance and the overall process of passing security clearance.

I understand why you would be concerned -- financial stability is closely examined during the vetting process. But your financial history does not have to be flawless. UK Security Vetting will want to be satisfied your financial position does not leave you susceptible to approaches from those that would seek to harm the state.

In your case, the loan defaults happened a few years ago and you can demonstrate that you are dealing with it. I would hope this would satisfy the vetting requirement, but of course it is impossible to provide any guarantees.

You are certainly doing the right thing in disclosing everything and then being fully transparent. The purpose of undertaking clearance is so that the client can be certain they can trust you in a sensitive role, and therefore you must be completely honest.

I also think you are doing the right thing in going for the role, as I understand the work can be extremely fulfilling! Having said that, it’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan either. Best of luck with the new contract and the vetting procedure.

The expert was Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

Thursday 12th October 2017