Supo seeks enhanced interaction with security clearance vetting clients

The security clearance vetting clients of Supo are satisfied with the quality of investigations and the smoothness of the process. New customership manager Tiina Tuulensuu would like to boost interaction with clients.

Department Head Veli-Matti Lumiala.

Supo conducts about 90,000 security clearance vetting investigations annually into individuals whose work gives them access to premises or information of importance to national security. This vetting process serves over 400 clients, meaning employers requesting security clearance vetting of their staff. About 60 per cent of these clients are public authorities. The remainder are private businesses.

Supo is keen to serve these clients effectively, and even better in future. Tiina Tuulensuu took up her position as customership manager in the Vetting Department in 2021.

“I think recruiting a customership manager was already a concrete indication of an increased focus on client and partnership work at Supo. My job specifically supports interaction with our clients,” Tuulensuu explains.

To assist in this work, Supo collected comments from its security clearance vetting clients last year. These comments suggest that employers are highly satisfied with such aspects as the quality of security clearance vetting investigations and the smoothness of the process.

Clarity of client communication is one area where the service could be improved. The website section dealing with security clearance vetting was revamped at the beginning of 2022, and client newsletters, seminars and training will also be used to provide better responses to questions from clients.

“Client communications must serve both employers and security clearance vetting subjects. Clear communications should guide clients and subjects through the application process.”

Well informed employers will also be better placed to advise their job applicants about security clearance vetting.

“For example, the integrity monitoring aspect of security clearance vetting is still quite unknown to many employers. Integrity monitoring means checking certain registers to track the reliability of the subject while a security clearance vetting report remains valid. This means that the security clearance vetting process is not confined to the time before recruitment.”

Security clearance vetting also boosts the employer’s image at the Bank of Finland

With annual commissioning of about 900-1000 security clearance vetting investigations, the Bank of Finland is an important Supo client. These investigations concern individuals recruited to work at the Bank and at the Financial Supervisory Authority, and the staff of service contract partners.

Department Head Veli-Matti Lumiala says that the Bank of Finland was one of the first organisations for which Supo began conducting security clearance vetting investigations about twenty years ago. Security clearance vetting is a supplement to other risk management measures.

“Security clearance vetting investigations are part of our approach to ensuring that our staff are fit to administer the functions of the central bank and the Financial Supervisory Authority. They serve as a deterrent when job applicants already know at the recruiting or contracting stage that the work will involve security clearance vetting. Security clearance vetting reports also occasionally disclose relevant information that would not have been otherwise available,” Lumiala explains.

Lumiala also highlights the image that the Bank of Finland has deliberately sought to foster as an employer.

“Security clearance vetting also reminds specialists that their role is important, and that all of our people can perform their own work in a secure frame of mind.”

Security clearance vetting investigations are part of our approach to ensuring that our staff are fit to administer the functions of the central bank and the Financial Supervisory Authority.

Electronic services are appreciated and welcome

Security clearance vetting clients are increasingly filing their applications through the electronic service. Comments suggest that clients are highly satisfied with electronic transactions, even though these are also the most common subject of concrete reform requests.

“Clients are especially keen to see a better overview of security clearance vetting investigations for their own organisations,” Tuulensuu observes.

Lumiala hopes that electronic security clearance vetting applications will be optimally integrated into recruitment procedures at the Bank of Finland.

“I understand that improvements in e-processing are currently under development.”

We should talk when the need arises

Tuulensuu explains that comments from clients indicate a need to pay special attention to interaction in the security clearance vetting process. Supo has recognised this need more widely, and has prioritised interaction in its new strategy.

“The comments indicate a wish for optimal interaction. Our clients want us to contact them and learn more about their business sectors.”

The security clearance vetting process is well established at the Bank of Finland, and Lumiala observes that contact with Supo is not always necessary.

“Such special situations do not arise when everything is working as it should. The longer queues and delays that occasionally arise at certain times of the year can give us cause for communication. This has been quite natural. We should talk when the need arises.”

With long experience of cooperating with Supo, Lumiala has seen how its operations have evolved. He also regards cooperation as important beyond the context of security clearance vetting investigations.

“Supo has managed to improve cooperation with society as a whole still further in recent years, which certainly promotes the basic mission of the Service. One area of cooperation is mutual sharing of information. Examples of this include overviews and perspectives on security-related phenomena. We are hoping to see more of this.”