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Security Cleared Contracts

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with the Defence Vetting Agency regarding discrimination in advertisements for Ministry of Defence security cleared contracts; [113709](2) what action he is taking to ensure that advertisements for Ministry of Defence security cleared contracts do not discriminate against potential applicants whose Ministry of Defence security clearance may have lapsed; [113707](3) what action he is taking to inform recruitment agencies who advertise MOD security cleared contracts of the MOD policy that applicants do not need current clearance to apply for classified contracts. [113708]

I have had no discussions with the Defence Vetting Agency (DVA) regarding discrimination in advertisements for Ministry of Defence security cleared contracts. I am, however, advised by the DVA and other Departments in the MOD that complaints are sometimes received from individuals who feel that advertisements placed by some employment agencies, seeking staff who already possess a security clearance, are discriminatory.Whenever the Ministry of Defence becomes aware that a recruitment agency is advertising for staff holding a security clearance to work on MOD protectively marked contracts, we write to the agency concerned advising them to stop the practice. The agency is told that the wording used is incorrect, discriminatory and counter to Government policy, and could potentially place the company in breach of equal opportunities legislation. The agency is also requested to use more suitable wording, as suggested by MOD, when advertising job vacancies, making it clear that the successful applicant will require to be security cleared prior to confirmation of their appointment.MOD have also taken action to ensure that United Kingdom defence contractors are advised along similar lines when advertising employment opportunities.