Single agency to complete security checks

Commonwealth public servants and government contractors can expect to receive a single security clearance recognised by all agencies.

The Gillard Government has announced the launch of the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) – a centralised agency for all Commonwealth security checks.

The new arrangements were announced by Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, Attorney-General, Robert McClellan, and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong on Friday.

The single security vetting agency is expected to deliver cost savings of at least $5.3 million per year.

With a customer base of around 30 Australian Government agencies, the AGSVA is expected to process around 48,000 clearance actions per annum.

Mr McClelland said the centralised approach to security vetting and the AGSVA’s use of IT innovation would remove “inefficient duplication”.

“Before the AGSVA, more than 100 agencies replicated the processes of security vetting while more than 50 agencies held separate contracts with vetting service providers,” he said.

He added that the AGSVA will be supported by a new Personnel Security Protocol, setting out the practices and procedures for all Government agencies to follow.

The protocol aims to minimise intrusion into employee privacy where possible by aligning background checking to personnel security vulnerabilities; ensure cross-recognition of security clearances by all Australian Government agencies; enable agencies to undertake additional character checks identified in their risk assessments; and closely align the clearance review process with international partners.

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