Guidance

United Kingdom Security Vetting: Sponsor

United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV) is the main UK government provider of security clearances.

eForms

eForms are available over the RLI (MOD restricted network), GSi (government restricted network) and internet. They provide both flexibility and help prompts for completing the vetting application online, thus improving the ease and speed of completion. The completed forms are then uploaded directly into the NSVS case management system.

eform applications are instigated by a sponsor on an agreed network (RLI, GSi or internet). Upon account creation by the sponsor the subject is automatically emailed a unique link to the relevant eform portal to complete the application.

There are many advantages of using an eForm including help prompts and inbuilt business rules to minimise or eliminate errors. This means that the number of rejected forms and requests for further information will be minimal. Also, vetting subjects are directed to complete only the questions that are relevant to them. The forms are flexible and allow the application to be saved at any stage. Once completed it is submitted directly into NSVS.

The whole technical solution for the NSVS IT vetting system has been fully security accredited, which includes the assessment of security risks and how these are managed. This is from the completion of the security questionnaires online, through the RLI/GSi and Internet eForm portals, to the back end case management system and database, which manage the workflow of the vetting process and record the vetting information.

For people with no secure access, completion of an online security questionnaire will be done on the eForm portal accessed through a secure site on the internet. This is the same type of set up that is used when you access your online banking. You will notice that the web address line turns green in the web browser and displays a padlock which shows that the eForm is operating through a secure site albeit on the internet.

Initial access to the eForm portal is achieved only through a unique link which is sent to your chosen email address either automatically through your sponsor or through our enquiry centre’s account creation process. This link is unique to your application and directs you to the eForm portal where access is controlled by a thorough personal authentication process to verify identity, from which you are mandated to create your own login details that remain known only to you to enable subsequent access.

UKSV National Security Vetting Solution Portal: guidance for sponsors

Providing information about vetting subjects

If you have been named as a supervisor or character referee for someone who requires a NSV clearance, you may be asked to provide information about that person. This will be in the form of an interview with a Vetting Officer or by a written testimony form. As with data supplied by the vetting subject, this will not be passed outside the security community except in exceptional circumstances, and will not be supplied to the vetting subject without your express permission.

If you work outside the government email network and receive a written testimony form as an email attachment, you will see the following notice:

You may choose to return your response by email or in hard copy to the address shown on the form: a reply paid envelope can be provided on request. Please be aware that if your response contains sensitive personal data email is not a secure method of transmission unless sent from a government network.

It is not possible to define “sensitive” personal data, although you may feel this applies to data which is clearly private and which the vetting subject would not wish to be widely known. If you require further advice or to discuss the type of information you are providing and how it may be transmitted, please contact the NSV Data Protection Officer.

Requests for ‘security certificate’ for employment purposes

You should note that although the record of security decisions are kept by us, the formal notifications of clearance announcing decisions are sent only to the vetting sponsor. You are not sent a copy of the notification of clearance, primarily for security reasons: the notification represents a vetting decision made on the day of issue, and clearance may have been lapsed or withdrawn at any time since that date.

If at any time you need to know your vetting status for employment reasons, the sponsor or prospective sponsor should contact the DBS NSV enquiry centre. We will release a copy of a Notification of Clearance in response to a SAR that specifically requests this, but it will be amended to show that this does not necessarily represent current vetting status. The following wording appears on all current Notifications:

This notification of clearance refers to the employment and sponsor for which it was raised. It may be transferable: refer to appropriate security regulations (SPF / JSP 440) for details. Please note that a clearance may be withdrawn or may otherwise have its status changed at any time before its expiry date. To confirm that this clearance remains valid, you should (if you hold a sponsor / vetting status information (VSI) account) use the NSVS VSI facility. If you do not hold such an account contact the UKSV enquiry centre (01904 662644) to check the status of the clearance.

There should therefore be no reason for vetting subjects to request a copy of their notification of clearance for employment reasons.

Registering as a sponsor

It is a requirement that all sponsors are registered before they can submit an eForm or hard copy NSV applications. Therefore if you need to sponsor an application or have a requirement to frequently enquire about the vetting status of a subject (i.e. whether they have a valid NSV clearance) through the vetting status information facility but do not have a sponsor account then you will need to follow the guidance below.

Any NSV applications received without a sponsor account will be returned to source because the new tighter security measures require full registration of sponsors. Once you have registered, you will need to provide your unique identifier when making any future enquiries to the UKSV enquiry centre, telephone 01904 662644.

You will need to contact your departmental security authority (DSA) to discuss your requirement to act as a sponsor for NSV applications or to have access to a VSI account. If the DSA agrees to the request they will send you a registration form and guidance notes to complete and return to them. Should the DSA not approve the request they will inform you of the reason for the denial.

The DSA will check the registration form and sanction the requested account(s) and forward this information to us for an account to be created in NSVS. Please note that in no circumstances should the sponsor send their completed registration form directly to us, the DSA must first authorise all sponsor account requests.

The account will normally take 2 working days to process and once complete the NSVS system will automatically notify the sponsor by email on how to verify and action their account. The system will also automatically send the new sponsor their unique sponsor ID by email. This unique ID must be entered on all eForms and hardcopy NSV applications. Our enquiry centre advisors will also request this unique ID from all callers before they confirm any vetting information.

Should the sponsor forget or misplace their unique sponsor ID they should contact the DBS NSV enquiry centre who will action the request to the customer accounts team, they will then respond to the request.

Further information on obtaining a sponsor account can be sought by contacting the relevant DSA for your business area.

UKSV National Security Vetting Solution: sponsor account registration guidance

Using the eForm portal

Once a sponsor account has been created by us, a confirmation registration email is automatically generated and sent to the sponsor.

UKSV National Security Vetting Solution Portal: guidance for sponsors

Published 14 August 2019