Personnel Security

PER030

Decide whether to grant a clearance

After your organisation gets a vetting recommendation from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS), you need to review it, decide whether to grant a national security clearance, and let the NZSIS know what you’ve decided.

You must also ensure vetting candidates know what their rights are.

Receiving a vetting recommendation

When the NZSIS finishes vetting your candidate for a national security clearance, they’ll give their written recommendation to your chief security officer (CSO) or their delegate.

The NZSIS may recommend:

  • a clearance at the level you requested
  • a clearance at a lower level
  • a clearance with specific recommendations (‘qualifications’) for managing it
  • that you don’t grant a clearance (that a clearance is not appropriate at any level).

Acting on a vetting recommendation

Remember that your organisation must not grant a clearance at a higher level than you requested vetting for.

When you grant a clearance, you are the sponsoring organisation for that clearance holder.

For a clearance at the level you requested

If the NZSIS recommends a clearance at the level you requested and your organisation decides to grant the clearance, you must provide the clearance holder with:

  • a briefing on their responsibilities to protect classified information, assets, and work locations
  • requirements for reporting any change in circumstances or suspicious contacts
  • details of your organisation’s security awareness training programme.

For a clearance at a lower level

If the NZSIS has concerns that may lead to recommending a clearance at a lower level than your organisation requested, they may advise your CSO to withdraw the person’s access to classified information, assets, or work locations above the level of the clearance recommended.

Your CSO should advise human resources of the outcome if the clearance was a condition of employment.

Your organisation can then confirm the employment condition is met, or decide whether you will withdraw the employment offer, redeploy the person, or terminate their employment.

Note: A vetting candidate has the right to complain if they’re unhappy with a vetting recommendation. If a candidate complains, wait until the complaint process is finished before you take any action. Seek legal advice if needed.

With qualifications on the clearance

Your organisation should follow any specific recommendations (‘qualifications’) that the NZSIS makes for managing security risks associated with a vetting candidate.

If you decide you can accept and manage the risks, work with the clearance holder to put a security risk management plan in place to manage the risks.

For a clearance not to be granted

Your organisation should not grant a clearance when you receive an adverse recommendation from the NZSIS about the candidate. Contact the NZSIS vetting team for more information.

Granting a clearance to a foreign national

If your organisation decides to grant a clearance to a foreign national, it’s a good idea to make gaining New Zealand citizenship by a certain date a condition of maintaining their clearance. This helps give assurance of their loyalty to New Zealand.

Advising the NZSIS of decisions and changes

Your organisation must tell the NZSIS about every decision and change you make to the status of a clearance. You must tell them whenever a clearance is:

  • granted or declined
  • downgraded or upgraded
  • suspended or resumed
  • transferred or leveraged (shared with another organisation)
  • extended
  • cancelled.

Advising vetting candidates about their right to complain

Your organisation’s CSO or delegate must tell vetting candidates about their right to complain. A vetting candidate has the right to complain to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security if they’re unhappy with:

  • how the NZSIS carried out the vetting process
  • the recommendation the NZSIS made.

Complaints must be in writing.

Address for complaints

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
c/- The Registrar of the High Court of New Zealand
DX SX 11199
Wellington

More information

Complaints — Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

Page last modified: 16/12/2019