Daily Archives: 17/12/2014

Security director ordered to pay £95,000 under Proceeds of Crime Act

On Monday 15 December at Woolwich Crown Court, ex-security director Aston Shim was ordered to pay £94,758 under the Proceeds of Crime Act to be paid within six months. If the order is defaulted, the Court may impose a period of 18 months imprisonment.

Shim was the sole director of Samurai Security Limited (a business located at Macbean Street, Woolwich in London). The company provided security services to nine venues including a school and a local council. Neither Shim nor the majority of his security officers held Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences to work in the private security industry.

In November 2013, at a prosecution brought by the SIA, Shim pleaded guilty to being a director of a security company without an SIA licence and for supplying unlicensed security officers. The court disqualified Shim from working as a company director for five years, gave him a 120-hour Community Order and fined him £8,000.

The SIA worked in partnership with the London Regional Asset Recovery Team in securing a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Woolwich Crown court for £94,758.

The SIA's investigations continue to expose those who do not observe the law

The SIA’s investigations continue to expose those who do not observe the law

Comment from the Regulator

Nathan Salmon, head of investigation at the SIA, said: “The confiscation ordered against Mr Shim means the financial gain he made in supplying unlicensed security officers will be removed from him. This has resulted in a closure of Mr Shim’s business and property obtained from the proceeds of crime.”

Salmon continued: “In running his business of 20 years, Mr Shim made decisions not to comply with security industry regulations. Those regulations are in place to protect the public. Mr Shim would not have been able to service his contracts without unlicensed operatives. A ruling during these proceedings means the total value of each contract is recoverable as criminal benefit where unlicensed operatives were used.”

In conclusion, the SIA’s spokesperson added: “It’s important that the SIA pursues such matters. These prosecutions drive out poor industry practice, ensure criminals do not benefit from their crimes and that criminal funds are returned to the public purse. The SIA has worked in partnership with the London Regional Asset Recovery Team throughout the course of this investigation and we are grateful for their support.”

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What does the future hold for Fire and Rescue Services?

Everyone engaged in the Fire and Rescue sector will be acutely aware that fundamental changes are already taking place to the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services, prompted largely by the need to deliver a more cost-effective service, reports the Fire Industry Association.

What’s clear is that the Fire and Rescue Services’ collective mode of operation will be very different in just a few years’ time than it is now, and that several key strands of this evolution will be determined by a co-operative partnership between the Fire and Rescue Services and the suppliers to the sector.

Following the publication of Sir Ken Knight’s ‘Facing The Future’ report in 2013, which highlighted a number of options for change, central Government has made clear its support for some strands of the thesis detailed including collaborative procurement, infrastructure sharing, mergers and a greater proportion of on-call fire fighters.

Material support has come from Government in the form of a £75 million ‘transformation fund’ that has been apportioned towards 37 efficiency-generating projects and, within this, £5.5 million to help fund the forthcoming merger of the Wiltshire and Dorset Fire and Rescue Services.

What has been apparent for some time, however, is that change is to be sector-driven and delivered and that this truism will require fire-fighting equipment suppliers to be fully engaged in relevant aspects of the evolution.

Sir Ken Knight

Sir Ken Knight

A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and FIRESA Council earlier this year has proven timely. Among the commitments that have already been realised was the convening of a joint seminar that has provided an indispensable focal point for the collaboration of fire and rescue practitioners with their product and service providers.

Taking place at the Fire Service College on 2 December, the seminar allowed delegates to enjoy an informative and thought-provoking agenda that brought the salient issues into focus and will empower both Fire and Rescue Service personnel and industry suppliers to be active participants in the future of our Fire and Rescue Services.

Chaired by CFOA president Peter Dartford, the programme began with a welcome from the host, Fire Service College CEO Jez Smith, who set the background for the day, duly noting the need for avoidance of duplication among the Fire and Rescue Services and the creation of economies of scale wherever possible.

The Fire Service College itself has a vital role to play in partnership with other stakeholders, and Smith called for bold leadership within the Fire and Rescue Services that will challenge existing disparate practices.

New ways of thinking and resourcing

Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt provided the Keynote Address, welcoming the CFOA/FIRESA Council Memorandum of Understanding before stating that the public sector has to exist within its means and that there must be new ways of thinking and resourcing.

Mordaunt is adamant that the need for change is overwhelming and that the pace of change must gather momentum and address issues such as product standardisation, collaborative procurement and equipment testing through the CFOA/FIRESA Council axis.

Penny Mordaunt MP

Penny Mordaunt MP

The MP also touched on Fire and Rescue Service personnel issues such as on-call fire-fighters and volunteers, and also looked to the fire protection industry to continue driving down the number of unwanted automatic fire alarm signals.

CFOA vice-president Paul Hancock encapsulated the theme of the day in his presentation entitled ‘The Importance of Working Together’, voicing strong support not just for Fire and Rescue Service collaboration but also for ‘Blue Light’ cross fertilisation (which we know to be a longer term vision of the present coalition Government).

Hancock suggested that, with less than half of the austerity measures currently implemented, the way ahead will require close working partnerships that promote a clear vision with or without direct Government involvement.

CFOA Board member Ann Millington offered a strident and entertaining view on procurement in the future, conceding that the Fire and Rescue Services need to be better clients and grasp opportunities to work together. The Fire and Rescue Services, said Millington, must achieve reward for collaboration rather than for separatism.

Importantly, Millington welcomed the creation of a ‘national back office’ that presently enjoys representation from 30 Fire and Rescue Services.

Ann Millington is firmly behind product standardisation, greater visibility of equipment innovation requirements and a whole new approach to procurement that begins with agreed specifications and proceeds towards tender with sufficiently flexible contracts via a lead authority for each product type.

In Anne’s words, repetition of these processes over 46 Fire and Rescue Services is immoral. Indeed, Millington was especially scathing of the ever-growing number of contract providers and the duplicate frameworks that emerge which are so costly and time-consuming for suppliers to address.

Creation and development of strategic partnerships

Pivotal to the proceedings was the presentation from the suppliers’ perspective given by FIRESA Council’s chairman Derek Gotts and vice-chairman Ian Callaghan. Following an introduction to the composition and work of Council, Gotts noted its primary objectives which focus on strategic partnerships with CFOA and the Fire and Rescue Services, the Fire Sector Federation, the Fire Service College, central and local Government in addition to a range of event organisers.

Gotts then moved on to the suppliers’ experience of the market over the last ten years which has seen the ultimately failing National Procurement Strategy (introduced by the then ODPM in 2005), through the austerity measures since 2010 and via Sir Ken Knight’s report to the present time of tangible moves to make substantive changes that must preserve Fire and Rescue Service capabilities with less financial resource in play.

The National Procurement Strategy brought uncertainty and a hiatus in orders and, contrary to its intentions, led to a market that sees a growing profusion of frameworks and tenders, mini competitions and framework call-offs that are as onerous as new tenders. What remains is a disjointed approach comprising elements of regional and local procurement. There’s clear evidence of duplication in many aspects of the Fire and Rescue Service/supplier interface and unnecessary waste in terms of both personnel and financial resource that must be rectified.

Graham Ellicott: CEO at the Fire Industry Association

Graham Ellicott: CEO at the Fire Industry Association

Ian Callaghan went on to detail the FIRESA Council/CFOA Memorandum of Understanding and some specific issues that Council wishes to address, among them support for product innovation, collaborative procurement (including visibility of medium-to-long term requirements), equipment specification and standardisation and remaining influential in coalition and opposition fire safety policy stretching to proposals for joint ‘Blue Light’ operations.

In particular, Callaghan emphasised the equipment evaluation scheme which seeks to eliminate what is a frankly ludicrous situation, and a prime example of duplication whereby each Fire and Rescue Service carries out its own independent assessments. Backed by output-based national specifications, suppliers envisage an open and transparent model that’s divorced from any specific procurement processes and, importantly, is dynamic, in turn enabling modified and new equipment to be evaluated as required.

Perhaps headed by a Technical Committee and with work carried out by product type by appropriate lead organisations, the aim is to establish a library of rigorous test reports that, rather than promoting a ‘winner takes all’ link to procurement, enables each Fire and Rescue Service to reach its own judgement on its preferred product from a technical and users’ standpoint.

Perspective from local Government

An Open Forum following the morning session proved lively and impassioned. While it’s not possible to recount the discussions in detail here, what became evident to all in attendance is that if, being in the real world, there will be significant challenges in getting to that better place we anticipate, there’s both the will and the vision to lead us there.

The agenda for the afternoon began with Councillor Mark Healey of the LGA Fire Services Management Committee offering a local Government perspective and a fascinating view on the realities of what the Authorities have to do in response to funding cuts. He suggested that a lack of central Government direction has created a policy vacuum that’s being filled with individual solutions.

Healey’s Devon and Somerset Fire Authority enjoys a good relationship with its Fire and Rescue Service and has already made a number of changes, including moving towards more on-call fire fighters, investing in light rescue pumps and, following the merger, making long term revenue-generating use of its unoccupied sites.

Given the likelihood of further Fire and Rescue Service mergers in the future, the address from ACO Robert Scott of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service proved an invaluable insight into the amalgamation of the previously separate services north of the border.

While its capital budget has grown from £15 million to over £22 million (although VAT can no longer be reclaimed), there were significant criteria attached to the merger including no front line redundancies or station closures, no alterations to personnel Terms and Conditions and no carry-over of financial reserves.

Scott was able to report, however, that many duplications have been eliminated and that the combined Fire and Rescue Service is proceeding with future business planning and restructuring that will achieve further efficiencies. His message to the audience was that, while the positions of the English and Welsh Fire and Rescue Services were their own to evaluate and respond to as they see fit, they would do well to shape their own futures before Government imposes its will upon them.

David Matthews, a renowned expert in the field of global standards in fire and rescue, offered an appraisal of the current position and called vehemently for greater Fire and Rescue Service involvement in the various Standards Committees.

The formal programme was completed by CFO Paul Fuller who spoke of the work of the Fire Sector Federation (which is achieving notable outputs through its various work streams).

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UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner issues Annual Report 2013-2014

The UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s inaugural Annual Report outlines both the work the Commissioner, Tony Porter, has completed and his future plans.

The report explains how the Commissioner:

*continues to promote the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice to relevant and non-relevant authorities
*has launched an easy to use self-assessment tool for any organisation to demonstrate how they are meeting the principles contained in the Code
*has continued the work of his predecessor, Andrew Rennison, to simplify the CCTV standards framework in order to encourage the industry and operators of CCTV systems to meet minimum standards
*will be issuing guidance to users of domestic CCTV following his concerns about the growing number of complaints around the use of CCTV at people’s homes

Download a copy of the Annual Report 2013-2014

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Foreword to the Annual Report

In the Foreword to the Annual Report, in which he addresses Home Secretary Theresa May, Tony Porter states:

“I am pleased to present to you the first Annual Report from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. This report covers the period from the appointment of the first Surveillance Camera Commissioner (on 13 September 2012). I am grateful to my predecessor Andrew Rennison who undertook the functions of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner until his departure in February 2014. Much of his work is reflected in the body of the report and he has kindly attached an open letter which follows this Foreword.

“I intend to ensure that the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (PoFA Code) is promoted to relevant authorities under S33 (5) of the Protection of Freedoms Act so that they fully understand and fulfil their duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. I also intend to explore other opportunities to promote the PoFA Code to non-relevant authorities, thereby seeking voluntary adoption across a broad range of sectors.

“According to a survey conducted by the British Security Industry Association on the number of cameras in the UK (published in July 2013), just 1 in 70 of CCTV systems are state owned. This reinforces that a major part of my role is to reach out to others who use overt surveillance in public space – not solely relevant authorities. I will detail plans later in the report, but I have already met with universities and spoken to some residential social landlords and the British Retail Consortium and will continue to reach out to others to whom the PoFA Code is applicable.

“The use of CCTV in domestic environments continues to cause concern among the public and is a high generator of complaints across various agencies. With a view to showing leadership in the sector, I have said publicly that I intend to explore ways of working with manufacturers, retailers, installers, consumers and the Information Commissioner’s Office to impart the principles of the PoFA Code.

“That said, there remains much to do to achieve that goal. I have worked with some relevant authorities, particularly public space CCTV managers in local authorities that show enormous enterprise in adopting the principles within the PoFA Code. However, it has been brought to our attention that the application of the PoFA Code is not consistent throughout all relevant authorities. We have been made aware of instances where some traffic enforcement officers, often using the same cameras as those used to deliver crime and disorder reduction strategies, do not deliver the same level of compliance to the PoFA Code. Accordingly, where dual use CCTV Operations Rooms are in use I intend to raise the obligations within the PoFA Code to encourage compliance.

“There remain a large number of surveillance camera system users who are not under a duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. By focusing on the larger scale operators via seminars, webinars and personal engagement, I intend to raise the profile of the PoFA Code. My aim is to secure voluntary adoption and achieve surveillance by consent across the broadest range of organisations.

“Application of the PoFA Code not only delivers benefits to society in terms of privacy, security of public safety, transparency and reassurance but also benefits business through better performance and cost reduction. This will be my mantra going forward.”

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Institute of Risk Management experts outline key risk areas for 2015

Political instability caused by low oil prices, increased shareholder activism and the business threat posed by a potential UK exit from the EU are among the chief concerns voiced by some of the UK’s leading risk experts for 2015.

As 2014 draws to a close, members of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) were asked to identify key risk areas for 2015. A broad range of oil and gas, political, healthcare, regulatory and insurance risks were highlighted as potential flashpoints.

Oil and Gas

“The lower oil price will raise a number of risks, including political and social disruption in oil producing countries which, if not successfully managed, will impact on the world,” asserted Mark Boult, Fellow of the IRM and director at risk management consultancy DNV GL.

Boult continued: “Given the greater financial pressure we will see on the sector next year, stakeholders need to maintain their focus on the integrity of assets. Not doing so will deliver poorer reliability and increase the risks of a major accident. Industry and Governments should work together to proactively manage down the commercial pressures and risks facing the industry from the oil price drop.”

A catastrophic major accident and physical asset integrity will remain a major industry focus for next year. “Such events are always – and always need to be – at the front of our minds given the impact they have on people, the environment and the business of the industry as a whole,” explained Boult.

Commentators from the IRM have mapped out key potential risks for 2015

Commentators from the IRM have mapped out key potential risks for 2015

Politics

An uncertain political environment in the UK is highlighted as a key risk area for next year by IRM members. “We need to watch closely how the dialogue between the UK and EU develops,” said José Morago, IRM chairman and group risk director at Aviva. “The potential risk of a UK exit from the EU could bring about even bigger strategic, operational and legal risk challenges to many international companies than those raised by Scottish independence.”

Morago added: “Next year, we have the UK General Election and possible presidential elections in Europe. With continuing fiscal deficits, cost of living pressures, low investment returns and low public trust in financial institutions, there’s a real risk of further – and bolder – political announcements as parties compete for public approval.”

Mark Butterworth, member of the IRM and managing director at risk management consultancy Condie Risk, believes the unpredictability of next year’s UK General Election is unique in his adult memory. Butterworth argues that a vote to leave the EU could provide the Scottish National Party with a boost, “possibly leading to the start of the ‘second’ wave for independence.”

Alternatively, an indecisive result in a May election which fails to resolve ‘the European question’ could lead to “upheaval, forcing a second General Election in late 2015, with all the attendant uncertainty that entails.”

Healthcare

The total number of Ebola deaths is predicted to peak in 2015 according to Patrick Keady FIRM, risk leadership consultant with the NHS. “This will be achieved by continuing with current levels of awareness, actions and plans and by Governments avoiding ineffective knee-jerk reactions. Lessons will be learned from Sierra Leone’s handling of the crisis where 21% of people infected died compared to 60% in Guinea and 42% in Liberia.”

Further 2015 predictions by Keady are as follows:
• “It will be the year more people will say ‘No’ to so-called ‘healthy food’, leading to reduced demand for healthcare in the long term. People can consume up to seven times the World Health Organisation’s daily recommended amount of sugar when their diet is limited to foods such as low fat yoghurts, muesli bars and sports drinks. The debate about processed versus natural food will escalate with the launch of ‘That Sugar Film’ next year.”
• “Drugs and alcohol will both start to be seen as healthcare issues. With 9% of all emergency hospital care being for people with a drug or alcohol problem, 36% of these are from the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. An increased focus on the health implications of drugs and alcohol will start to benefit the population and, in turn, reduce drug and alcohol-related crime statistics.”

Regulation

According to IRM commentators, new regulation is going to pose risks for companies and company directors in 2015.

Taken together, the 2014 UK Corporate Governance Code and Financial Reporting Council’s Guidance on Risk Management will significantly upgrade the weaponry of shareholder activism in 2015. “Greater corporate governance and risk management education at Board level – including Company Secretaries – will be needed to mitigate against the risk posed by the new regulatory environment,” stated Mark Butterworth.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s drive for greater competence and capability means that Boards of Directors must be far more proactive about ensuring their capabilities match their needs. José Morago commented: “Boards need to identify governance gaps and plug them fast, whether that’s through acquiring new skills, qualifications or experience. What’s expected from Boards is going to be raised quite fast next year.”

Insurance

Reduced profitability for the UK insurance sector is an identifiable risk for 2015 according to Enrico Bertagna, IRM affiliate and senior vice-president of business development at Allied World Europe Insurance.

“If there’s no material change in claims trends or major catastrophes,” outlined Bertagna, “we’re looking at ongoing downward pressure on premium rates, reducing underwriting profits in most classes of business.”

Bertagna also believes we’re likely to see a trend towards the localisation of risk in 2015. “We’ll see less premium flowing to London from emerging markets. That will lead to reduced premium to London market insurers on the one hand, while potentially exposing local market insurers to greater volatility on the other.”

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