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Case study – Wayne – “I was at risk of losing my job as a result of my employer taking on a government contract”

Wayne had been working as a consultant for several years when he was offered a paid job working for one of his clients. After accepting the job he’d been told that he would be working on a government contract and would need security clearance.

Wayne contacted our helpline and explained that he had two convictions which were now spent. He wanted to know whether they would come up as part of the security clearance process and if so, would his employer be told the reason why he’d failed the checks. His employer had carried out a basic DBS check which had come back ‘clean’ and were therefore not aware of his convictions. He was extremely concerned that he would lose his job if they were to become aware of them.

We advised Wayne that his convictions would appear on a security clearance check and it would be in his best interest to disclose them to his employer as soon as possible. We reassured him that the purpose of these types of checks were usually to protect government assets from cyber security threats, terrorists and other pressure groups and his convictions would probably not be relevant.

Wayne contacted us again after a couple of months to confirm that he had disclosed to his employer, he had been given his security clearance and was now working on a government contract. He said:

I was really worried about what would come up on my security clearance especially as I hadn’t told my employers about my old convictions. Having talked the options through with one of the advisors at Unlock it became clear that I should speak to my employer – if I didn’t get the clearance, they may have been able to put me on another contract.



This case shows that having a criminal record isn’t always a bar to getting security clearance for government jobs. Although Wayne’s conviction was spent and he had no reason to disclose it to his employer, for jobs that require security vetting, it’s usually best to have a discussion with your employer.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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