Discrimination and the Public Sector

Discrimination and the Public Sector; where appropriate and with justifiable exception

In the 2014 PMBR and our newsletter we wrote extensively about “Recruiting for vacancies requiring National Security Vetting clearance” and how this could be seen as a form of discrimination if it is not managed in a reasonable way.

Low and behold, as a recruiter engaged with the CL1 (the new process through which contractors are being recruited for positions in the UK Government) we have recently been reminded that the relevant Code of Practice on this matter states that “Candidates should not, as a rule miss out on employment opportunities because they do not hold an existing security clearance at the application stage.”

The Code of Practice which can be found here makes a clear case as to how all those involved in the recruitment process should act in order to ensure that no individual is discriminated against.

So, the process flow is as follows:

  1. The hiring manager must identify the level of clearance required and where appropriate decide if there are grounds for an exception.
  2. The department must have a process for approving exceptions to guard against bad practice, though it would appear that,for example “the requirement is urgent” is acceptable?
  3. Having completed this process, the hiring manager must then feed the “clear requirement” into the hiring process and subsequently in to the hands of the “neutral Vendor” (Capita in the case of CL1).
  4. Once in the hands of the neutral vendor, the staff responsible for managing the opportunity must ensure that they have a clear understanding of the role and the level of clearance required and where appropriate any grounds for an exception.
  5. The neutral vendor must then brief the recruitment agencies to ensure that they understand the role, the level of clearance required and where appropriate any grounds for an exception.
  6. The recruitment agency must advertise the vacancy making sure they clarify when security clearance is required and to what level. They must also make it clear that people with no security clearance will also be considered, unless advised that appropriate grounds for an exception exist.
  7. The consultants at the agency must ensure that they do not shortlist candidates based on existing clearance or any pre-conception of what clearance involves. They should ignore any “opportunity” or “advantage” that could be gained by presenting candidates who currently hold the indicated level of clearance. This instruction only being relevant when no appropriate grounds for an exception exist.
  8. The neutral vendor, must turn off any key-word matching elements of their RMS (Recruitment Management System) to ensure that they do not shortlist candidates based on existing clearance or any pre-conception of what clearance involves. They should also ignore any “opportunity” or “advantage” that could be gained by presenting candidates who currently hold the indicated level of clearance. This instruction only being relevant when no appropriate grounds for an exception exist.
  9. The hiring manager when in receipt of the short shortlist of candidates presented by the Neutral Vendor must ensure that they do not shortlist for interview any candidates based on existing clearance or any pre-conception of what clearance involves. They should ignore any “opportunity” or “advantage” that could be gained by selecting candidates who currently hold the required level of clearance. This instruction only being relevant when no appropriate grounds for an exception exist.

Now, hopefully you are still with this and none of the human beings or machines involved in this process have in any way short circuited the process.

Unfortunately, human nature exists and regardless of grounds for an exception existing it is hard to believe that in any number of cases it is easier, quicker and more cost-effective for the hiring manager to choose the candidate who already has the required level of security clearance?

The Hiring Manager, The Neutral Vendor, The Recruiter and the Candidates all know this and like all ‘isms, it is generally impossible to prove!

Or am I just being cynical?

 

PS: Don’t get me going about government adverts that still ask for “x years” experience!

 

 

photo credit: Space Ritual

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