United Kingdom Security Vetting:Referees, Hiring Managers, Contractors and Consultants

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


A referee should be someone who has known you well over a significant recent period of your life. We will ask them to describe you and your way of life away from work.

The Vetting Officer will double check the information given in the vetting questionnaire. Please make sure that the referees you have nominated are aware that you have nominated them and are willing to be interviewed. Please also advise them that they will not necessarily be contacted.

(Note: An information leaflet is issued to all referees who are to be interviewed). If you could please advise anyone else who we might contact, such as your current/previous senior officers/line managers or educational establishment, that you are undergoing vetting and have agreed to the process.

Please note that our enquiries will not be confined to past and present employers and nominated character referees.

Choosing a Referee

We ask former employers, senior officers and educational establishments for information about you.

We also ask you to choose some people who have known you well for a significant recent period in your life, to act as referees. Ask permission first and make sure that they are willing to be interviewed.

We will not necessarily contact all Referees who have been nominated. Our enquiries will not be confined to past and present employers and nominated character referees.

Role of a Referee

If we decide to use you as a referee, the Vetting Officer will question you to double check the details that the person being vetted has given us and those we have collected by carrying out other checks.

After you have received the Referee’s information leaflet the initial contact will be by telephone. There may be some delay due to operational priorities and other factors, so please be patient. Interviews will usually be face to face but may occasionally be conducted by telephone.

If you have sensitive information to divulge or feel uncomfortable discussing the person being vetted over the telephone, a face to face interview will always be arranged.

UKSV National Security Vetting: vetting information leaflets

Hiring Manager

If you wish to employ staff awaiting their clearance there is no central regulation prohibiting the employment of people awaiting the security clearance. The decision whether or not to do this, limiting access as necessary, is a risk management judgement for the area concerned and as advised by his or her security staff.

In making this judgement, the business manager must take into account the sensitivity of the business area, the information held, and local conditions of work and of the practicality of limiting access. If in doubt, Personnel Managers should deal with us directly. For a security clearance case contact the UKSV enquiry centre (01904 662644) to agree arrangements.

There is no requirement to re-vet staff that re-join within a year of leaving, other than in exceptional circumstances. Where a security clearance needs to be transferred the receiving personnel authority/company should phone the UKSV enquiry centre (01904 662644) at the outset to find out whether an individual holds a clearance and to initiate the transfer.

Contractors and Consultants

Guidance on security clearance for companies who bid for MOD contracts?

You do not need to hold security clearances to bid for MOD work advertised in the Official Journal of the European Community and other sources. The MOD contracting procedures make sure that there is no competitive advantage in having prior security clearances. Requests for clearances must be raised during the contractual process.

Advertising for staff that already hold a security clearance is contrary to government policy, unnecessary and potentially discriminatory, as laid out in the Cabinet Office code of practice document, “Recruiting for vacancies requiring National Security Vetting Clearance.” Any individual who sees such a criterion specified in advertisements when seeking employment can inform the Cabinet Office by forwarding full details of the post and the employer to the following email address:

Published 14 August 2019