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Thumbs UP - Your National Contractor Vetting Scheme Update - August 2018

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Welcome to our August update

Updating you on our news and whats new...

Since our last update we have been reviewing a number of processes so that we can maximise our performance and offer you an improving service. As a Vetting unit with over 500 Contracts we're unable to offer a bespoke service to our customers and we have taken decisions designed to address the needs of the many rather than the few. Therefore, please take the time to read this update as it details a number of changes. Hopefully you will be able to support our prosed changes and I would welcome any feedback at: michael.gillick@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk.

Self service portal

Great news - successful software upgrade

The promised software upgrade happened on 2 August which, enables the self service element to become available for you. If you haven't already received your 'Login' details and the 'How To' guide they will be with you before the end of August. Let us know if not. You can also find the 'How To' guide on our website. We are rolling out the access to this on a phased basis, so we don't have hundreds of you logging in all at the same time. We are convinced that you will find this a better way of submitting your vetting applications in the future and would love to hear if you agree. 

Chasing applicants

Missing information - now asking just once

A considerable delay to processing applications arises where the applicant has missed vital information off their application. The Case Officer currently asks for the additional information on three occasions before the application is withdrawn. In order to streamline the process and serve the needs of our applicants and clients who complete their application correctly first time, we are introducing a new process. This is where we will email the applicant ONCE and give them 20 working days to respond to this email. If we hear nothing after 20 working days we will notify you that we have deleted the application.

Notifying applicants of the outcome of their vetting application

Refusals changed to email to avoid delays

Currently the Vetting Case Officer notifies you (the sponsor) of when an applicant has been refused clearance and we will send a letter via Royal Mail to the applicant, Many applicants find the delay in receiving their notifications unacceptable.

To improve this and avoid the delay we are now emailing a copy of the 'refusal letter' to the applicant at the same time we email you (the sponsor). Within this we will include how they can appeal. Please note they will no longer receive a letter.

Vetting appeals process

This has been reviewed

We have reviewed our appeals process so that we can offer a swifter outcome for you and the applicant's.

An applicant who wishes to 'appeal' must notify us in writing for example; email within 28 days, with the grounds for the appeal and include any additional information or mitigation they wish to be considered. Please note appeals received after 28 days will not be considered.

The Vetting Development Manager will review the appellant's submission, in the first instance, and will have an opportunity to resolve the matter within days of receiving the appellant's submission. If the matter cannot be resolved at this level - the appellant's case will be forwarded to the monthly Appeals Panel chaired by West Mercia's Police Deputy Chief Constable.

Vetting certificates

No longer issuing these

We will no longer be issuing certificates when approving an application for vetting. The new self service portal gives you (the sponsor) access to Core-Vet so that you can see the current vetting status of your employee/applicant. This is so that we can streamline the vetting process and enable our Case Officers to devote more of their time to resolving vetting applications. 

Security Certificates (SC)

No longer transferring Security Certificates

We have to apply to the United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV) department to obtain SC clearance for applicants. UKSV will issue SC to those applicants where there is no adverse trace on their systems and only where the Vetting Case Officer has approved the applicant for NPPV3. Where the Case Officer concludes that the applicant will not reach the standard required for NPPV3 they will not apply for SC and the application will fail at that stage.

For this reason, we will no longer transfer SCs. If an applicant advises you that they have SC and you're prepared to accept that, we will only vet to NPPV3 and will make no reference to an SC clearance that we have not applied for.

The cost of a new NPPV3+SC and a NPPV3+transfer of SC would have been the same, therefore we will only charge and carry out a new SC giving you the full 10 years.

UKSV advise us that applicants have 60 days in which to make their application from receipt of the online 'link'. Currently our SLA for NPPV3+SC is 50 days. Clearly if your applicant doesn't submit their UKSV application shortly after they receive it, we will be unable to meet our SLA. Please note we will not be chasing the applicant.

It's in the applicant's best interest - and their personal responsibility - to submit the application for SC as soon as reasonably possible. If the Case Officer hasn't received a notification from UKSV after 90 working days of receipt of the NPPV3+SC application they will terminate the application and update Core-Vet to that effect.

Staff changes

Some of you will have developed professional relationships with of our staff. For that reason I thought I should update you on our recent staffing activity that involves some of our longstanding team members:

Jen Calcott is leaving us

Jen Calcott, Vetting Supervisor who has worked in the Warwickshire Vetting Unit since 2008 is leaving to manage her own business. We wish her well and are in the process of recruiting someone into the role. In the meantime, Sarah Morris, who has been with the team for 8 years, will be stepping in on a temporary basis.

Additional four Case Officers

We have just recruited an additional four Case Officers to fill vacancies that emerged as a result of Case Officers moving into other police jobs. The new staff will begin their training in late August.

Jen Clee maternity leave

Working within the unit for a number of years Jen, went on maternity in July and we hope to welcome her back next summer. We would like to reassure you we are ready to recruit further, if required, making sure we select the best staff to ensure we meet your business needs. 

(Non) Disclosure of Involvement in Police Investigations

Applicant's failure to disclose - 'I forgot about that'

The vast majority of appeals submitted by applicants following a refusal of vetting involve the applicant's failure to disclose their involvement where they have been arrested or otherwise been involved in police investigations.

As part of their appeal we hear things like: 'I forgot about that', 'I didn't think I needed to disclose that', 'I wasn't charged', 'I was found not guilty', 'I was too embarrassed to tell you', 'I'm ashamed of that period of my life', 'the police came, but I wasn't arrested', 'I was 'let off' etc.

If a Case Officer gets in touch with an applicant to query any aspect of their application, e.g. previous police contact, other adults registered at the home address, credit history, it's usually because there is some concerns about the level of disclosure. That could be their last chance to redeem themselves. Please advise your applicants accordingly. With the Self Service portal you will not have sight of the applicants submission so please impress on them not to self-edit their past - it could be career threatening.

The Case Officers are not there to morally judge anyone and there is no scope in the Vetting Code of Practice and Authorised Professional Practice to allow personal feelings to come into the final decision. The relationship between the applicant and the Case Officer is confidential and applicants should take them into their confidence on all matters. If in doubt, ask.

Those who fail to fully disclose all relevant circumstances are extremely likely to fail their vetting application. Admitting the oversight in an appeals letter is no guarantee their appeal will be successful.

It is always important to remember that vetting is about protecting police assets, e.g. premises, people, intelligence, reputation. If there is reasonable doubt to suspect that an applicant is being dishonest, about their past, can we trust them to be honest in the future? It only takes one dishonest person with access to police assets to cause a serious risk to the security and safety of many. 

Backlog update

Last but by no means least...

We plan to keep you updated on our backlog and how our dedicated 'Backlog Team' are progressing with this.

The chart below shows April 2018 through to March 2019 (left to right). The blue line is the projected reduction of the backlog during this time, and the amber line is the actual backlog reduction the team have achieved from April to August. You can see our Backlog Team are already reducing our backlog ahead of our target and we envisage this will continue. 

 

Backlog Projection August 2018