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Australian Government Security Vetting Agency

FAQ

Page last reviewed: 21 Mar 2017

Security Vetting Information for Defence Industry

The Department of Defence (Defence) is making improvements to security vetting services to provide greater capacity for our industry partners to obtain security clearances for their staff.

Previously, security clearance vetting sponsorship for industry was strictly limited to personnel contracted to Defence.

Now we have introduced new sponsorship categories to allow greater flexibility for those seeking industry vetting sponsorship. These categories are:

  • Members of a Defence Standing Offer Panel;
  • Potential suppliers; and
  • Potential industry or academic partners. More information about this category can be found on the FAQs below.

Q1. When did the move to charge defence industry for security clearances occur?

Defence commenced charging industry for security vetting services on 1 January 2015.

Q2. Will vetting services under way prior to but not completed before 1 January 2015 be charged?

No. Only security vetting services requested from 1 January 2015 onwards will be charged.

Q3. Who do the charges apply to?

The charges apply to industry providers that require a security clearance to provide services, advice and support to Defence.

Q4. What security vetting services will we be charged for?

Fees will be charged for:

  • new security clearances
  • security clearance upgrades
  • security clearance revalidations, and
  • cancellations - cancellation fees will only apply after a complete vetting pack (ePack questionnaire and supporting documents) has been submitted by a clearance subject.

Q5. How much will it cost?

The fees are the same as those incurred by the AGSVA's other government customers and can be found on the Corporate / Defence Industry Information and Policy page of the AGSVA website.

Q6. What do I do if the contract I have with the Department of Defence does not include an allowance for security clearances fees and charges?

In this instance, you should contact your Department of Defence contract manager to discuss the matter.

Q7. How often are fees and charges reviewed?

Vetting fees and charges are reviewed annually. The review is undertaken at arms length of the AGSVA by the departments of Defence and Finance and the AGSVA Stakeholder Engagement Forum, which has representatives at the SES Band 1 level from Defence and other Commonwealth agencies.

Q8. Does this mean that because industry pay for the clearance the individual then owns the clearance?

No individual owns a security clearance. A clearance reflects a government requirement for an individual to access classified material or information and is valid only while this government requirement remains current.

Q9. Where will the revenue go?

All revenue generated will be used to build vetting capacity and enhance service delivery. This in turn will enable the AGSVA to better meet the needs of all its customers.

Q10. Will we be invoiced if a clearance is not granted?

Yes. It takes at least the same amount of work, and often more, to make a determination to deny a clearance.

For detail on cancellation charges, please refer to the Corporate / Defence Industry Information and Policy page of the AGSVA website.

Q11. Who else pays for security clearances?

All other government agencies that use the services of the AGSVA are charged for security vetting services. A number of these agencies then pass the costs on to industry.

Q12. Can we pass vetting costs back to Defence?

Pricing and costings are determined on an individual contractor and project basis. Discussions on pricing and costings, with regard to existing and future contracts, need to be undertaken by individual companies and contractors directly with their Department of Defence contract manager.

Q13. How will industry be billed?

The AGSVA bills industry on behalf of Defence and liaises with individual companies / contractors to identify one central billing address and contact.

Reporting and billing of industry then follows the same process used for government customers. The AGSVA provides defence industry customers with monthly updates on the progress of vetting services and invoices defence industry customers monthly on completion of services. Payment terms are 30 days.

Q14. Will we be able to pay a premium for a priority clearance?

No. The decision as to which clearances are given priority is assessed on a case by case basis, based on the requirements of government and not financial considerations.

As has always been the case, industry are able to request priority through their Defence 2-star / Band 2 sponsor, using a priority request form that can be obtained from the Security Officer Dashboard. However, the final decision will be made by the AGSVA based on availability of resources.

Q15. I'm a security officer. When submitting a clearance request, why do I need to provide Defence contract manager details?

Defence and DISP security officers are required to provide contact details for the relevant Defence contract manager to ensure compliance with government policy.

DISP companies are able to request clearances for personnel working on Defence contracts, but these requests need government agency endorsement:

PERSEC 4: Agencies must ensure their personnel with ongoing access to Australian Government security classified resources hold a security clearance at the appropriate level, sponsored by an Australian Government agency.

In addition to PERSEC 4 the Department of Defence has recently updated the Defence Security Manual to expand sponsorship provisions for members and companies who are not DISP accredited. See Question 16 for how to request clearances in this situation.

No individual owns a security clearance. A clearance reflects a government requirement for an individual to access classified material or information and is valid only while this government requirement remains current.

Providing Defence contract manager details helps to confirm (1) sponsorship by a government agency and (2) the requirement for the clearance.

Q16. I am a company/DISP member that does not have a current contract however have been approved to be on a Standing Offer Panel or be a Potential Supplier. Can I be sponsored for or request security clearances?

Standing Offer Panels

Where the relationship between Defence and a panel member has been formalised through a Deed of Standing Offer; the Panel manager will determine the requirement and sponsor clearances for personnel employed by panel companies.

Potential Suppliers

Identification as a potential supplier under a limited tender process (including sole supplier) establishes a business relationship between the potential supplier and Defence. The Defence Request For Tender (RFT) manager will determine the requirement and sponsor clearances for personnel employed by that potential supplier.

Potential Industry or Academic Partners

Defence recognises other forms of business relationships with industry and academic partners. FASS&VS will accept formal notification from a 2 Star / SES Band 2 Officer confirming that such a relationship exists. Formal notification must include:

  1. the nature of the relationship and rationale for requiring clearances; and
  2. a management plan for sponsorship and maintenance of those clearances.

FASS&VS will consider such requests and where approved, will provide a sponsorship number for the requesting organisation to use in lieu of a contract number.

Q17. I'm a security officer and I don't know who the Defence contract manager is. How do I source this information?

DISP security officers can identify the contract manager by asking the question, "What contract is the clearance subject working on that requires them to have access to classified information?"

OR

As per Question 16; companies and individuals can also seek sponsorship by engaging directly with their respective panel manager or request-for-tender manager. The final determination for sponsorship of a clearance will be at the discretion of the appropriate panel manager or request-for-tender manager.

If a clearance subject is working on more than one contract then you should consider which contract has the greatest need of the clearance subject's services, and/or requires the highest level clearance.

Defence security officers need to obtain this information from the Defence contracting panel or tender area that has the requirement for the security clearance.

Q18. I'm a DISP security officer and have to request a clearance for another DISP security officer. What Defence contract manager details should I enter?

Prior to becoming a DISP member, a company must be awarded a contract with Defence; it is then the responsibility of the Defence contract manager to determine if a particular contract requires DISP membership. DISP membership requires organisations to have a minimum of two security officers.

As the role of security officer is a consequence of your company's DISP membership, the contract details you should enter are those of the contract on which your company's DISP membership is based.

Q19. I'm a DISP security officer and need to request a clearance for a clearance subject working on a non-Defence contract. What should I do?

DISP membership only entitles you to request clearances for people working on Defence contracts.

All clearance requests relating to contracts with other (non-Defence) government agencies must be submitted to the AGSVA by the government agency which holds the contract. DISP security officers should not submit these requests.

Q20. I'm a security officer. When requesting a security clearance, why do I need to provide Defence contract numbers?

Defence and DISP security officers have the option of providing the contract number when completing a security clearance request. This is not mandatory and has been included at the express request of defence industry. A number of companies advised that having the contract number included in reporting will assist them identify the specific area within their organisation to be billed for the clearance.

Q21. What can I do if I have more questions?

If you have any additional questions or wish to provide feedback you can do this by sending an email to agsva.crm@defence.gov.au

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Contact Us

Security clearance/vetting enquiries
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SecurityClearances@defence.gov.au

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