Showsec md Mark Harding presents UKCMA case on business licensing

Mark Harding has drawn encouragement from an opportunity to discuss elements of proposed new licencing and regulation developments in a meeting with leading figures from the Security Industry Authority.

Showsec’s managing director met with Bill Butler, CEO of the SIA, and Christy Hopkins (the SIA’s head of transition) during their visit to the company’s Head Office in Leicester.

Harding reaffirmed a rational argument relating to some of the proposed changes on behalf of many throughout the security sector.

Left to right: Christy Hopkins and Bill Butler of the SIA with Showsec's md and UKCMA chairman Mark Harding

Left to right: Christy Hopkins and Bill Butler of the SIA with Showsec’s md and UKCMA chairman Mark Harding

In his capacity as chairman of the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA), Harding has represented the views of many security specialists (particularly those companies employing part-time staff) in voicing concerns to the Regulator around aspects of the proposed transition to business licencing.

Exchange of ideas and concerns

Following the meeting, Harding stated: “The fact that both parties have exchanged ideas and concerns about the next phase of business licencing is due to the credibility of the crowd management industry, a commitment to the idealism of the SIA and years of nurturing professional and organisational relationships with the Regulator, not to mention its willingness to engage with industry.”

He continued: “We were delighted that Bill and Christy took the time to come here to listen to what we have to say. It also provided them with an opportunity to experience the professionalism of our back office and support services, while also demonstrating how the industry has progressed.”

Harding added: “The case that the UKCMA has been arguing all the way through this process is important to the progression of the industry as a whole. Industry success is fundamentally attributable to the independent governance by the SIA and the cohesive effect it has had on industry. The UKCMA believes this ongoing governance is paramount to future success and is fully in favour of business licencing. However, the primary commercial concern raised by members is the disproportionate cost of business licencing for companies using part-time staff.”

Embellishing this theme, Harding stressed: “In essence, the UKCMA does not want to be burdened with another disproportionate charge similar to the one levied under the Approved Contractor Scheme. It wants to see a much fairer distribution of the financial burden. What we’re trying to secure is a future for the industry.”

Calling for unified standards and career paths

Harding, who also sits on the Strategic Advisory Group for the SIA and is part of the Security Regulation Alliance, said: “We want a platform where there is the capacity for new companies to regenerate the industry, where there are unified standards, where there are businesses acting legitimately and where there are career paths for individuals.”

He explained: “The reality is, however, that the impact of that transition will be very challenging in terms of it leading to more administration, while the premiums are disproportionate for companies employing part-time staff.”

The UKCMA represents in the region of 20% of the total number of SIA licence holders in the country, either through direct work or sub-contracting.

“We have a strong voice,” said Harding, ” and a positive approach towards finding industry-wide solutions. We have aligned industry development with the SIA’s idealism.”

In conclusion, Showsec’s md said: “It is to be hoped that we can find a positive solution to a commercial concern. I would once again like to thank Bill and Christy for coming here to listen to our argument.”

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