Providing Security Advice to Other Government Departments


The Service has, for many years, been providing protective security advice to New Zealand government agencies.

Protective security involves a lot of different areas, including:

  • personnel security
  • physical security (making premises secure and protecting classified and sensitive information)
  • communications security
  • computer security, and
  • technical security.

The Service is responsible for establishing personnel security and physical security standards for protecting national security information. It also provides advice on personnel security and physical security.

Another agency in the New Zealand intelligence community, the Government Communications Security Bureau, sets standards and offers advice on the other facets of protective security.

Physical security

Physical security is achieved in part by establishing physical barriers to deter, detect and delay unauthorised entry to areas where classified material is stored. It is supplemented by the use of security keys and containers to protect classified information, access control measures and security alarm systems to detect unauthorised access and bring a response.

Appropriate physical security also depends on establishing suitable procedures for accessing and dealing with classified information.

The Service develops and delivers protective security awareness briefings and programmes to government agencies and, where appropriate, to other public and private organisations.

Personnel vetting

It is government policy that all employees who have access to material having a national security classification must have a security clearance. To determine a person’s suitability for a security clearance, a process called “vetting” occurs. The vetting activity is graduated according to the level of security clearance to be obtained. The more sensitive the material to be handled, the more detailed the vetting.

The Service carries out these vettings when requested to do so by the employing department. A vetting is undertaken with the knowledge and co-operation of the person concerned, and involves enquiries being made to establish their trustworthiness, loyalty and discretion.

Vetting process:

Vetting process diagram