Switch to virtual verification interviews raises security concerns in Whitehall
Security alert as whistleblower reveals interviews for Whitehall jobs with ‘top secret’ access being conducted via VIDEO CALL
- Candidates for Whitehall roles with access to ‘top secret’ material must be vetted
- A whistleblower revealed that verification interviews are conducted virtually
- There are concerns that remote interviews are not as in-depth as in-person interviews
Verification interviews for Whitehall jobs with access to ‘top secret’ information are no longer automatically conducted in person, raising security concerns.
A whistleblower told the Telegraph that Britain’s Security Screening Department was conducting online interviews using video software as officers worked from home.
A former officer who worked at the department described the move as “breathtakingly naive”.
But the Cabinet Office insisted the move to virtual interviews had “not undermined the robustness” of the hiring process.
A whistleblower told the Telegraph that Britain’s Security Screening Department was conducting online interviews using video software as officers worked from home
The line relates to the “developed screening” process that applies to people when they move into government roles where they have access to “top secret” material.
It can apply to civil servants, defense personnel and private contractors who work in Whitehall.
Some security officers believe that face-to-face interviews are more in-depth and should be used exclusively.
They argue face-to-face interviews allow them to fully probe candidates’ personal secrets, amid fears that crucial details could be left uncovered in virtual interviews.
The interviews are designed to reveal if someone has financial or personal baggage from their past that could make them vulnerable to corruption or blackmail by a hostile nation.
Officers are said to have raised concerns about maintaining virtual control with their bosses in the Cabinet Office.
The line is about the ‘developed vetting’ process that applies to people when they get into government roles where they have access to ‘top secret’ material
The whistleblower told the Telegraph that switching to remote interviews risked a “catastrophic security breach”.
Meanwhile, a former officer told the newspaper that remote interviews could lead to a major security breach.
“To virtually interview a subject for a national security clearance is breathtakingly naive,” they said.
But the Cabinet Office said: “Virtual processes have not undermined the robustness of Developed Vetting and initial data shows they are equally effective.”