Why Do People Fail Security Vetting in the Uk? 

why do people fail security vetting in the uk

Have you ever wondered why do people fail security vetting in the UK?  

In this article, we will uncover the underlying factors that contribute to these failures, leaving you with a better understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. 

From incomplete disclosures to questionable associations, the reasons behind failed security vetting can be both intriguing and concerning. 

Key Takeaways 

  • BS7858:2019 outlines the vetting checks required for security vetting in the UK, including proof of identity, proof of address, right to work, credit and financial checks, and career references. 
  • Outsourcing vetting checks to Checkback offers a cost-effective and auditable solution with fast turnaround times and secure online application. 
  • Checkback utilises the latest technology for accurate screening, provides competitive pricing and quick setup, and delivers quality candidate reports that meet SIA requirements. 
  • BS7858 clearance is a legal requirement for employees in the security sector and related roles, and it involves a thorough check of right to work, identity, criminal records, and employment history. Employers can obtain a free BS7858 quote from Checkback, which offers fast and accurate results while complying with GDPR regulations. 

Incomplete or Inaccurate Disclosure 

Incomplete or inaccurate disclosure during the security vetting process can have serious consequences. It can compromise the effectiveness of the screening and undermine security measures. When individuals fail to provide complete and truthful information, it hampers authorities’ ability to make informed decisions about their suitability for certain roles or access to sensitive information. 

Inaccurate disclosure can lead to a lack of transparency and hinder the proper assessment of an individual’s background. This includes their personal and professional history, financial situation, and potential risks. Consequently, security vulnerabilities and potential threats may go undetected, putting organisations and individuals at risk. 

Moreover, incomplete disclosure raises red flags and creates suspicion, leading to further scrutiny and delays in the vetting process. It also raises concerns about an individual’s trustworthiness and reliability, which are crucial attributes for security-sensitive positions. 

To ensure the effectiveness of the security vetting process, individuals must provide accurate and complete information about their background and personal history. This includes disclosing any criminal records, financial issues, employment history, and any other relevant information that may impact their suitability for a particular role. 

Criminal Record or Suspicious Activities 

When individuals fail to disclose their criminal record or suspicious activities during the security vetting process, it undermines the ability of authorities to accurately assess their suitability for security-sensitive roles and poses potential risks to organisations and individuals. 

  Criminal Record or Suspicious Activities 
1  Failure to disclose criminal record 
2  Concealing involvement in suspicious activities 
3  Providing false information about past offenses 
4  Withholding information about ongoing criminal investigations 
5  Failing to report associations with known criminals 

Failure to disclose a criminal record is a serious breach of trust. It raises concerns about an individual’s honesty and integrity, as well as their willingness to abide by the law. Concealing involvement in suspicious activities, such as association with extremist groups or engagement in illegal activities, can have grave implications for for organisational and, at times, national security. Individuals who provide false information about past offenses or withhold information about ongoing criminal investigations create a significant risk for employers that rely on accurate vetting processes. 

By failing to report associations with known criminals, individuals may be hiding potential links to organised crime or other illicit activities. These associations can compromise the safety and security of organisations and individuals, as well as the effectiveness of security measures in place. 

To ensure the integrity of the security vetting process, it is essential for individuals to fully disclose their criminal record and any suspicious activities. This information allows authorities to make informed decisions about an individual’s suitability for security-sensitive roles and helps to mitigate potential risks to organisations and individuals. 

Association With Individuals of Concern 

Association with individuals of concern can have significant implications for security vetting processes and pose potential risks to organisations and individuals. When conducting security vetting, it’s essential to thoroughly investigate any associations an individual may have with individuals who raise concerns. This includes individuals with criminal records, extremist ideologies, or links to organised crime or terrorism. 

The presence of such associations can indicate a person’s susceptibility to coercion, exploitation, or compromise. It may also suggest a willingness to engage in illegal activities or compromise security measures. Therefore, security vetting processes must carefully evaluate the nature and extent of these associations to determine the level of risk they pose. 

To assess associations with individuals of concern, security vetting procedures may involve conducting background checks, interviewing references, and gathering intelligence from relevant agencies. It’s crucial to gather accurate and up-to-date information to make informed decisions about an individual’s suitability for a specific role or access to sensitive information. 

Organisations must remain vigilant and proactive in identifying and addressing any potential risks associated with individuals of concern. By implementing robust security vetting processes and regularly reviewing and updating them, organisations can mitigate the risks posed by association with individuals of concern and maintain the integrity and security of their operations. 

Financial Instability or Fraudulent Behavior 

Financial instability or fraudulent behavior can have significant repercussions on security vetting processes and can pose serious risks to organisations and individuals involved. When conducting security vetting, it is crucial to assess an individual’s financial stability and integrity to ensure their suitability for a position of trust. A person with a history of financial instability may be more susceptible to bribery or corruption, making them vulnerable to exploitation by external threats. On the other hand, fraudulent behavior, such as involvement in financial scams or embezzlement, signifies a lack of ethical conduct and honesty, which can undermine the security and integrity of an organisation. 

To effectively evaluate an individual’s financial stability and behavior, vetting procedures often include a 5-year credit and financial check with address history verification. This check examines an individual’s credit history, debts, bankruptcies, and any irregularities that may indicate financial instability or fraudulent activities. Additionally, career references may be sought to provide insights into an individual’s financial management skills and integrity. 

The table below provides a summary of the financial instability or fraudulent behaviour subtopic, highlighting its importance and the key elements of the vetting process: 

Financial Instability or Fraudulent Behaviour 
– Risk of bribery and corruption 
– Vulnerability to external threats 
– Undermining the security and integrity 
Key Elements of Vetting Process 
– 6-year credit and financial check 
– Address history verification 
– Career references 

Inconsistent Employment History 

An inconsistent employment history can raise concerns during the security vetting process, as it may indicate potential issues with reliability and stability in an individual’s work experience. When evaluating an applicant’s employment history, the following factors may contribute to concerns: 

  • Frequent job changes or short durations of employment: A pattern of quickly moving from one job to another may suggest a lack of commitment or difficulty in maintaining stable employment. It may also raise questions about the individual’s ability to work well within a team or adapt to new environments. 
  • Unexplained gaps in employment: Extended periods of unemployment without a reasonable explanation can be a red flag during the vetting process. It raises questions about the individual’s ability to secure and maintain employment, as well as potential hidden activities during those gaps. 
  • Inconsistent job titles or responsibilities: Discrepancies in job titles or responsibilities listed on a candidate’s resume and their employment history can be concerning. It may indicate dishonesty or an attempt to inflate qualifications. Inconsistent job titles or responsibilities can also raise doubts about the individual’s ability to perform their duties effectively. 

During the security vetting process, it’s essential to thoroughly investigate and verify an applicant’s employment history to ensure consistency and reliability. This analysis helps to assess the individual’s trustworthiness and suitability for the position. 

Inadequate References or Recommendations 

During the security vetting process, another potential issue that can arise is the presence of inadequate references or recommendations, which can raise concerns about an individual’s credibility and suitability for the position. References and recommendations play a crucial role in assessing an individual’s character, work ethic, and trustworthiness. Inadequate or insufficient references can leave gaps in the vetting process, making it difficult to fully assess a candidate’s background and qualifications. 

A table can be used to highlight the importance of references and recommendations in the vetting process: 

Importance of References and Recommendations 
– Provide insight into an individual’s past performance and behaviour 
– Help verify employment history and qualifications 
– Assess a candidate’s reliability, honesty, and professionalism 
– Can confirm or refute claims made by the candidate 
– Enable employers to make informed decisions about hiring 

Inadequate references or recommendations can occur for several reasons. It could be that the candidate’s previous employers are unwilling or unable to provide detailed references. Alternatively, the candidate may have a limited professional network, making it difficult to obtain strong recommendations. In some cases, candidates may intentionally provide references that are not credible or reliable, attempting to deceive the vetting process. 

To address this issue, employers should implement thorough reference checks and establish guidelines for what constitutes an adequate reference. They should also consider conducting additional background checks or interviews to gather more information about the candidate’s qualifications and character. 

Failure to Meet Vetting Criteria 

In the security vetting process, one common issue that can arise is when individuals fail to meet the criteria for security clearance. This can happen due to various reasons, such as insufficient proof of identity, inadequate proof of address, and lack of right to work. 

Insufficient proof of identity: Individuals may fail to provide the required documentation to establish their identity, such as valid identification cards or passports. This can raise concerns about their true identity and potential risks associated with false identities. 

Inadequate proof of address: Security vetting often requires individuals to provide proof of their current address. If they fail to provide sufficient documentation, such as utility bills or bank statements, it can hinder the verification process and raise doubts about their residency status. 

Lack of right to work: Security clearance criteria often include verifying an individual’s right to work in the country. If they fail to provide the necessary documentation, such as work permits or visas, it can indicate potential legal issues and their eligibility to work in sensitive roles. 

It is essential for individuals undergoing security vetting to ensure they meet all the criteria for security clearance to increase their chances of success. By providing the required documentation and meeting the necessary qualifications, individuals can demonstrate their suitability for positions requiring security clearance. 


In conclusion, the reasons behind failed Pre Employment Screening (PES) in a security environment or sector the UK can vary, but they often stem from factors such as: 

  • Incomplete disclosure 
  • Criminal records 
  • Associations with individuals of concern 
  • Financial instability 
  • Inconsistent employment history 
  • Inadequate references 
  • Failure to meet security clearance criteria 

It’s crucial for individuals seeking employment in sensitive sectors to be aware of these pitfalls and take necessary steps to address any potential issues in order to increase their chances of a successful vetting outcome. 

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