Plan to merge vetting services has “no business case”

Plan to merge vetting services has “no business case”

There is no business case for the government’s plan to merge the two bodies responsible for providing national security vetting across Whitehall, the civil service union Prospect has said.

Services are currently provided by units of the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. Their core work involves providing background checks on staff, job applicants, contractors and visitors. The intention to create a single provider by the end of 2016, with the MoD service absorbing its FCO counterpart, was revealed in just three lines on page 84 of last month’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Anna Biggs, Prospect negotiator said: “Members are still trying to absorb this news, which came completely out of the blue. It is extremely unsettling in terms of possible redundancy and uprooting of staff. This is no way to treat people who dedicate their working lives to keeping us safe.

“The news is all the more surprising as the issue of a single provider has been examined and dismissed in successive reviews. The most recent review was ordered by Francis Maude, when he was Cabinet Officer minister, and conducted by John Allen. It concluded there was no business case.

“The two providers successfully serve different government departments. They are both good businesses that turn a profit and continually seek efficiency savings.”

Prospect has also been alarmed to learn that the MoD has been asked to draw up a business case to create a single provider.

“This confirms there is no rationale other than being seen to be doing something,” Biggs added. “The MoD is effectively being asked to help retrospectively justify this deeply flawed decision.”

For further information contact:

Anna Biggs
07713 511727 (m)
Andrew Child
020 7902 6681 (w)
07770 304480 (m)