Chair - Security Vetting Appeals Panel

Body: Security Vetting Appeals Panel
Appointing Department: Cabinet Office
Sectors: Charity & Public Sector, Defence
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £240.00 (or the applicable judicial fee) on a per diem basis + reasonable travel and subsistence.
Time Requirements: 15-20 days per year


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Dame Heather Hallett has been appointed as the new Chair of the Security Vetting Appeals Panel with effect from 1 April 2019 for a period of four years. She will replace Sir George Newman who is retiring from the Panel after 10 years of service.

Date: 01/04/2019

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    01/04/2019 at 10:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Security Vetting Appeals Panel is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) with advisory functions, sponsored by the Cabinet Office, established in July 1997. It hears appeals against the refusal or withdrawal of national security vetting clearance and is available to all those in the public and private sectors and in the Armed Forces who have exhausted internal appeal processes and remain dissatisfied with the outcome.

The Panel is a quasi-judicial body and comprises a Chair, a Deputy Chair and eight lay Members. Due to the nature of the Panel’s work, the Chair and Deputy Chair positions require them to have current or recent senior judicial experience (usually at High Court or Appeal Court level).

The Panel conducts hearings and makes non-binding recommendations to Heads of Organisations (or equivalent). Cases are normally heard by a panel of three, consisting of the Chair or Deputy Chair supported by two lay Members. The Panel is supported by a small Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.

The Panel sets out to examine the information upon which a national security vetting clearance decision has been based and the reasoning behind it. It can recommend that the decision to refuse or withdraw security clearance should stand or that security clearance should be granted or restored. It may also comment on the organisation’s security vetting procedures and the adequacy of their internal appeals process, and make recommendations. Its reports are not published, but copies are provided to the Head of the Organisation and to the appellant.

Person Specification

Successful applicants will need to be able to demonstrate:


  • Experience of presiding over hearings which require complex legal arguments to be assessed and authoritative rulings made, which might be subject to further legal challenge.
  • The ability to question witnesses and manage legal representatives in order to effectively conduct a hearing involving conflicting arguments and evidence.
  • The ability to lead with confidence the Deputy Chair and lay Members, managing contributions in an effective and constructive way.
  • The ability to examine and analyse complex issues impartially.
  • A commitment to consensual decision-making.
  • The ability to communicate with all parties to an appeal in a thorough and clear way, both orally and in writing, including the drafting of case reports.
  • Good team-working skills and the ability to produce meaningful performance assessments on other members of the Panel.


  • The ability to deliver balanced recommendations to Heads of Organisations in individual cases which may be highly critical of the action of those organisations or specific individuals within them.
  • The ability to consider work constructively and its impact for change (e.g. to HMG’s national security vetting policy).
  • The ability to hold and maintain the confidence of Ministers, Parliament and the public.

Additional Information

This is a Prime Ministerial appointment, for a period of up to four years in the first instance (renewable), and is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Most Panel hearings take place in London, but the Panel occasionally hears cases in Belfast. Applicants should consider whether any other roles they hold might present a conflict with possible parties to appeal proceedings.

Owing to the nature of the work, this post is designated ‘Reserved’ for UK nationals only and the appointment is made subject to the granting of Developed Vetting (DV) security clearance. The successful candidate will therefore be required to hold DV or be willing to undergo the DV process before any appointment can be confirmed. The successful candidate should be available to take up post from 1 April 2019.

For more information about the national security vetting process, please see

How to Apply

This appointment is governed by the principles of public appointments based on merit after an open and fair process. The Cabinet Office is committed to a policy of equal opportunities. Applications are particularly welcome from women, people with a disability and those from a black or ethnic minority background who are all under-represented at this level in public life. The balance of the Panel will ideally bring an overall mix of experience and expertise.

Applications must include the following documentation (submitting a CV alone will not be sufficient):

  • a full CV, with your education, professional qualifications and full employment history;
  • a supporting letter (maximum 2xA4 pages) setting out your suitability for the role and how you meet the person specification; and
  • a completed ‘Public Appointments Monitoring Form’ (attached).

All requests and submissions should be made as follows:

By email to:


By post to: SVAP Secretariat

Cabinet Office

Room 335

70 Whitehall

London SW1A 2AS

A ‘Candidate Information Pack’ is also attached. Anyone wishing to discuss the vacancy should contact the SVAP Secretary, Martin Sterling on 020 7276 5645.

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