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Australian Government Security Vetting


Referee FAQs

Q1. What do I do as a referee?

Referees play an important role in the security clearance process. The purpose of a security clearance assessment is to determine that a person with access to classified government information can be relied upon to safeguard that information based on their loyalty, character, trustworthiness, and reliability.

As a referee, you will be requested to answer a series of questions about the clearance subject that will be used to build a picture of the person. The process differs depending on the level of clearance requested:

Security clearance requested

Process undertaken by the referee

Time required

Baseline clearance

Complete a referee report (questionnaire), either emailed, online or via telephone with a vetting officer

5-10 mins

Negative Vetting 1

Complete a referee report (questionnaire), either emailed, online or via telephone with a vetting officer

10-20 mins

Negative Vetting 2

Complete a referee report (questionnaire), either emailed, online or via telephone with a vetting officer

10-20 mins

Positive Vetting

Face-to-face interview with a vetting officer

1 hour


NB: We may also need to get back in touch with you during the assessment process with follow up questions.


Q2. What types of question will I be asked?

The questions cover personal and professional aspects of the clearance subject’s life for example, relationships, finances, substance use, employment history.

It is important that you answer all questions as honestly as possible. And if you do not know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so.

Some of the questions will be intrusive. If you have any doubts about the relevance of a question please ask the vetting officer or email for clarification.

Q3. Where will I be interviewed?

Face-to-face interviews are conducted during business hours and need to be conducted in settings that ensure privacy.

The preferred venue is in one of our offices. Depending on circumstances, we can also arrange for the interview to take place at your workplace or other suitable venue.

Q4. How long do I have to complete my referee report?

Generally speaking, the nominated person will not be able to start their new position until their security assessment is complete. The sooner we receive all the information we need to assess an application the sooner the security clearance process can be completed.

Therefore, to assist the clearance subject and their employer, we would very much appreciate your completion of the report within 14 days of receipt. If you need more time please contact the AGSVA on t: 1800 640 450 or e:

Q5. How can I verify the credentials of the person contacting me?

If you have any concerns about the individual who is contacting you in regard to your role as a referee you can verify their credentials by contacting the AGSVA on telephone number 1800 640 450 or email

Please also refer to the table below which lists the names of vetting companies that have been government-approved to assist the AGSVA. All staff employed by these vetting companies have been through a strict selection process and hold appropriate qualifications to conduct vetting on behalf of the AGSVA and are appropriately cleared.

The vetting panel currently comprises:

AFS Vetting Services

National Vetting Services

Barrington Personnel Security

Nexus Vetting

Cogent Business Solutions

Oz Vetting Services

Crown Vetting

PerSec Solutions

DTZ trading as Cushman Wakefield

RISQ Group

Gatekeeper Vetting

Ruswin Vetting Services

Jennifer Anderson

Sirras Consultants

Kathy Baker

Staff Check

Key Vetting Services

Vetec Security

Michael Charles

Vetting Solutions Australia

Mitchell Personnel Solutions

Visco Security Vetting


Q6. Will the clearance subject have access to the information I provide?

Clearance subjects and clearance holders may request access to their personnel security file, either administratively or under the Freedom Of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act).

This does not mean that that individual's have unrestricted access to their file.

Information provided by referees is assessed to determine whether it is appropriate to withhold that information from release in accordance with the various exemptions available in the FOI Act.

Q7. I cannot log in to complete my referee report, what should I do?

For help accessing your referee report, please contact the AGSVA on
t: 1800 640 450 or e:

Q8. I have forgotten my referee report password, what should I do?

To have your password reset, please contact the AGSVA on t: 1800 640 450 or e:

Q9. Can I talk to the person who nominated me as a referee about the process?

Yes. There are no legal impediments to you speaking with the clearance subject about the process, but you are under no obligation to do so.

Q10. What do I do if I don't want to be a referee?

Your participation in this process is voluntary and your assistance is much appreciated.

If, however, for any reason you feel you are unable to provide a reference (for example, you do not know the person well enough to answer the questions), please advise the AGSVA at

Q11. Who can I contact for help?

If you require further assistance, please contact the AGSVA
on t: 1800 640 450 or e: Please be advised our business hours are Monday–Friday 8:30am–5pm (AEST/AEDT).

Q12. How can I provide feedback on the AGSVA?

The AGSVA values and welcomes feedback as a means of helping us enhance our service delivery. Feedback can be emailed to


Log on to DOSD >

Click on the above link to access:

  • Security Clearance ePack
  • Security Officer Dashboard
  • Referee report

Contact Us

Security clearance/vetting enquiries
1800 640 450
+61 8 8287 9192 (international)

  • Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm (AEST/AEDT)
  • National public holidays
  • Labour Day (SA/ACT)