National Security website shares details about screening process

PHILIPSBURG–The National Security Service VDSM explained its screening criteria extensively on its recently-established website www.vdsm.gov.sx . VDSM is charged with executing security screenings on individuals who will hold positions of confidentiality. A Declaration of No Objection by VDSM is required to qualify for such a position.

The security screening is classified as level A, B or C, depending on the type of position of confidentiality. Level A screening can be regarded as the most comprehensive. Access to confidential information and susceptibility to bribery and/or blackmail are important considerations in security screening. Therefore, the screening also extends into the private lives of individuals and is a very in-depth process.

Confidentiality

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Positions of Confidentiality are positions in the public and private sectors that are deemed vulnerable and require security screening by VDSM to ensure individuals placed in these positions do not pose a threat to national security. These may be, for example, positions where access is given to confidential information or to a secure area.

These positions are regulated by law and anchored in the National Decree on Designating Positions of Confidentiality and the Execution of Security Screenings.

One must realise that security screening should be the culmination of a coherent package of measures. This means that a position can only be designated one of confidentiality after reasonable efforts have been undertaken by the employer to minimise security risks. If there are residual risks after such efforts have been made, the position can be considered as such.

Individuals who hold or desire to hold such a position are or will be tasked with special responsibilities and must therefore meet strict requirements regarding reliability, trustworthiness and integrity. The purpose of security screening is to help guarantee that these requirements are met.

The process

Position of Confidentiality: “If you have applied for a position, or if you presently hold a position that has been designated as a position of confidentiality, you are required to undergo a security screening in order to obtain a ‘Declaration of No Objection’ (Verklaring van Geen Bezwaar, VGB),” according to the website.

Provide information: This is to ensure that individuals placed in these positions do not pose a threat to our national security. The (future) employer should provide the applicant with information regarding the security screening and on how to complete and submit the questionnaire.

Gather needed information: Download the digital questionnaire from the Screenings page on the website. It is important that the form is filled in completely; incomplete forms cannot be printed. Applicant who do not have access to the Internet can obtain a hard-copy version of the questionnaire from the (future) employer or from VDSM.

A security screening takes eight weeks to be completed.

Screenings are carried out at the different levels. The intensity of the screening is dependent on the position’s level of risk. Interviews generally take place for level A. If the position is considered an A-level position, the applicant will be contacted by a VDSM representative to schedule an interview.

 

The outcome

“If you successfully pass the security screening, VDSM will issue a Declaration of No Objection (Verklaring van Geen Bezwaar, VGB). A Declaration of No Objection is valid for five years, after which the security screening will be repeated. VDSM is authorised to restart a security screening at any time during this period should the need arise. If a threat to the national security cannot be ruled out in your case, you will receive a letter of intent of denial,” according to the guidelines on the website.

Intent to deny

A Declaration of No Objection may be denied or withdrawn. In such cases, the applicant will be notified of the intention to either deny or withdraw the Declaration of No Objection. He or she is welcome to respond to this intent. The results of the security screening will be reviewed after hearing the applicant’s response.

If the investigation shows that the Declaration of No Objection may not be issued, the person will be notified and will receive an intention to deny the Declaration of No Objection. The applicant will also be informed on procedures to object to the intent to deny if the applicant receives an actual denial or withdrawal; an appeal may be filed against the decision.

Appealing a decision

In case the Declaration of No Objection is denied or withdrawn by VDSM, the applicant is given the option to appeal the decision. The person will be notified of the decision and the procedure for filing an appeal. The applicant can file an appeal first through the Supervisory Committee and, in the second instance, through the Court in First Instance.

If the threat to national security cannot be ruled out in the screened person’s case in both instances, the denial of a Declaration of No Objection will be upheld. The applicant will be informed by the relevant authority about the final decision by a letter of denial.

After a Parliamentary election, VDSM, together with the Attorney General, is responsible for providing information to the “formateur” (individual authorised to form of the new government) in preparation for his/her advice to the Governor regarding the appointment of candidate Ministers. This is regulated in the Appointment Decree of May 22, 2013, No. LB-13/0442.

This procedure is also applied if a Minister is prematurely replaced. The information will be provided to the Prime Minister in that case.

During the screening process VDSM verifies the provided information of candidate Ministers with information within its databases, to ascertain that there are no issues regarding the integrity or reliability of the prospective Ministers that may consequently jeopardise the government.

Based on the results received from VDSM and the Attorney General, the relevant authorities decide whether the candidate is eligible for the position of Minister.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/66574-national-security-website-shares-details-about-screening-process

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