Category Archives: UK Contracting

Security Clearance

Many contracts (especially those for Government Organisations) require contractors to gain security clearance before starting an assignment. There are a 4 main types of security clearance; Basic Identity Checks (BC), Counter Terrorist Checks (CTC), Security Checks (SC) and Developed Vetting (DV). If you have never held any form of security clearance before you may find that you are limited to the type of contract you will be offered. This is due the fact that the majority of security checks (with the exception of Basic Identity Checks) take a long time to complete and require a sponsor i.e. the company that wishes to hire you. There is a chance that Security Clearance will not be granted at the end of a check meaning that the organisation has to go back to the start of the process to find a suitable contractor. If you have already held basic security clearance an organisation will feel more comfortable and confident with the process. Are you a highly skilled expat Contractor? Would you like to maximise your contract income and work towards a visa extension or visa transfer? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help! To discuss your situation with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Basic Identity Checks (BC)

A Basic Identity Check provides fundamental assurance to an organisation that a contractor who has access to sensitive information is trustworthy. A BC is not a formal security clearance but is a pre-requisite for a CTC, SC or DV. The check only takes around 2 days to 2 weeks to complete in which time a contractor’s identity and employment history are investigated. Many professionals new to requiring security clearance often start off with an assignment that requires a Basic Identity Check.

Counter-Terrorist Checks (CTC)

Counter-Terrorist Checks are required where there may be a threat from terrorism to Government establishments. A CTC involves a Basic Identity Check and then a detailed check against Police and MI5 records. Unfortunately CTCs can take a long time, often 6 months. The good news however is that once approved a CTC is normally valid for up to 3 years.

Security Checks (SC)

Security Clearance is the most widely undertaken check to be carried out and is required where an individual may be given uncontrolled access to sensitive information. A Security Check involves a Basic Identity Check plus further checks against security and criminal records. An SC takes around 6 weeks to complete but once approved is normally only reviewed once every 10 years. There is significant demand for consultants with Security Clearance. By holding Security Clearance you may be able to agree higher contract rates as there is a smaller pool of workers from which to choose.

Developed Vetting (DV)

Developed Vetting is the highest level of security clearance and is required only for the most sensitive assignments. Contractors will not normally be required to undertake this form of check as workers requiring this level of clearance are normally recruited on a permanent basis.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Financial Services Screening

Each year thousands of freelance professionals take contracts with large Financial Services Companies. If you’re planning on looking for a contract with a Financial Services Company you should be aware that you may have to go through the process of Financial Services Screening. (more…)

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2003 Conduct Regulations

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations were created in 2003 to protect vulnerable poorly paid agency workers from unscrupulous employment firms. It is broadly accepted that the regulations were not intended to legislate against highly skilled workers. (more…)

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Professional References

It is well worth taking the time to get Professional References from a Client at the end of a project (ideally on company letterhead). This way you can show them to a potential Client or Recruiter as soon as you are asked. This could be the difference between picking up or not picking up a last minute assignment. (more…)

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IT Contract CVs

It is incredibly important to write a ‘high impact’ Contract CV. If you fail to do this you will waste a lot of time and receive few (if any) responses! (more…)

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IT Contract Recruitment Agencies

In most cases you will have to work via an IT Contract Recruitment Agency in order to secure a project in the UK. Many Agencies advertise roles on IT Job Websites however it is often worthwhile building personal relationships so that (with luck!) an Agent will think of you before posting a requirement. (more…)

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Finding a UK IT Contract

As a Contractor you need to learn how to find and secure IT Contracts in the UK. It can be a bit of an uphill battle at first however once you learn the basics you will find that the going becomes a lot easier! (more…)

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The Swedish Derogation Model

When the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) was being negotiated by the European Community the Swedish Delegation had the good sense to insist upon certain provisions being inserted to limit the extent of the directive. (more…)

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The 12 Week Qualifying Period

Qualification for ‘parity’ in terms of pay and employment rights under the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) is dependent upon an Agency Worker being on site and engaged by the Hirer (Client) for at least 12 weeks in the same role.

If you are an IT Contractor and you are confused about the Agency Worker Regulations and how they may affect you it is important to take professional advice. At Commonwealth Contractors we work organisations that specialise in working with highly skilled contactors and can advise on the Agency Worker Regulations.

To discuss your situation with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Day 1 Rights under the Agency Worker Regulations

From Day 1 of an assignment Agency Workers must be given certain rights. Under the rules hirers of Agency Workers must ensure that workers;

  • Have access to the same facilities as directly employed individuals (including; Canteens, Common Rooms, Prayer Rooms, Waiting Rooms, the Workplace Crèche etc), AND
  • Can access Information on Client (hirer) job vacancies from day 1

Rights after 12 weeks in the same job

After an Agency Worker has completed the 12 week qualifying period (in the same job with the same hirer) the hirer must offer the worker equal treatment entitlements relating to;

  • Pay, AND
  • Other Basic Working Conditions (e.g. rest breaks, annual leave etc)

After completing the qualifying period pregnant Agency Workers are allowed to take paid time off for ante-natal appointments during an assignment.

AWR Implications

The following table details the implications of the Agency Worker Regulations for;

HIRERS (EMPLOYERS)

Hirers must;

  • Provide Temporary Work Agencies with up to date information on employment terms and conditions (in order for the Agency to ensure that the Agency Worker is receiving the same equal treatment)
  • Ensure that Agency Workers can access you facilities (i.e. canteen etc)

AGENCY WORKERS

Agency Workers get;

  • Equal treatment in respect of pay and basic working conditions after 12 weeks working in the same job for the same hirer

TEMPORARY WORK AGENCIES

Temporary Work Agencies must;

  • Ask hirers for information about pay and basic working conditions (in order to ensure that the Agency Worker is receiving the same equal treatment)

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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What are the Agency Worker Regulations?

The Agency Worker Regulations give ‘Agency Workers’ parity in terms of pay and employment conditions with permanent employees of the Client (Hirer) after they have completed at least 12 weeks in the same job with the same hirer. (more…)

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