Tag Archives: Business Licensing

Ninth consecutive year of ACS audit improvement recorded by Showsec

Event and venue security solutions specialist Showsec has achieved year-on-year improvement in the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme ratings for the ninth time in succession. An extensive assessment of all aspects of the company’s operation resulted in the award of a hugely impressive audit score of 132.

Assessing body the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) commended Showsec for its performance across all elements of the business and singled out several examples of good practice. Significantly, the company was successful in undergoing assessment for CCTV and close protection in readiness for the introduction of business licensing in 2015.

Showsec aimed for Improvement Scope in the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) assessment process with the prime objective of gaining British Standard accreditation across all aspects of the company’s work.

“This excellent result highlights once again the progress made by the company year-on-year and places us in a strong position should business licensing be implemented,” enthused Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding. “One of the prime objectives of this proposed business regulation for the security industry is to ensure that everyone complies with the British Standards in whatever line of security work they undertake. We now have approval for both CCTV and close protection duties in addition to door supervision and security guarding.”

Harding continued: “The ACS provides a clear benchmark of the standards we achieve in the delivery of our product. We’re constantly striving to raise the bar even higher in terms of the services we offer to our clients and members of the public, and also in relation to being at the forefront of industry-wide progression. Everyone within the company can be extremely proud of this latest achievement. I know this result will provide further encouragement for our staff to work even harder in the pursuit of excellence and continued improvement.”

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Event stewarding and crowd management

The NSI assessment was conducted by Joanne Fox who visited two venues – in Manchester and Leeds – at which Showsec operate before spending two days at Head Office in Leicester. In her report, Fox asserted: “I cannot believe the number of things the company has done in the last 12 months. It’s a great achievement.”

Among the five examples of good practice highlighted in the report are the introduction of a specific training module for SIA staff to ensure all supervisors have a clear understanding of the necessary requirements when supervising employees and casual workers, as well as the formation of Facebook accounts managed by members of the team at Head Office which enable employees and casual staff to communicate on specific events and activities.

On top of that, the NSI report also draws attention to the fact that Showsec has worked diligently alongside the UK Crowd Management Association to develop a specific qualification for event stewarding and crowd management.

Other examples of good practice include the company conducting a number of Human Resources Forums as a means towards even better communication and the identification of any pressing issues.

Showsec has also introduced e-Briefings for a number of events to provide employees and casual workers with detailed and specialist information ahead of them reporting for duty.

“These are just some of the ways in which we’ve endeavoured to improve our product over the past year,” concluded Harding, “but just as significant is the fact that there were no improvement needs identified in the report. That’s an extremely rare occurrence in this process and reflects the extent to which we’ve gone to make improvements across the board.”

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SSAIB recruits manned services assessors ahead of business licensing

Inspection company the SSAIB – which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary as a fire, security and telecare certification body – has recruited two new manned services assessors to join the team headed by scheme manager Stephen Grieve.

The duo’s appointments come in the context of future regulation through mandatory business licensing – the most significant factor affecting the security industry since the SIA (Security Industry Authority) introduced individual licensing under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Andrew Osbourne

Andrew Osbourne

Andrew Osborne joins the SSAIB to cover the south of England. He brings with him an extensive and wide-ranging 40-year track record of business experience including security screening and training, Health and Safety management and risk assessments with companies such as G4S (with whom, for example, he conducted site and remote audits on static guarding, maritime, aviation, rail and events operations including employee screening, training and licensing).

Osbourne’s appointment to the team is mirrored by David Taylor’s recruitment to cover the Midlands and the north of England. Taylor has a similarly impressive industry CV dating back over 20 years and including roles as an operations, training and quality and security manager for Sigma Security. He also served as a project manager for Wilson James covering British Airways’ Heathrow headquarters, as well as being manager of security and safety services for both the Portman and Coventry Building Societies.

David Taylor

David Taylor

“Bringing on board professionals of Andrew and David’s calibre is a significant step for SSAIB as we invest in our regional manned services assessment capability in the run-up to the anticipated 2015 introduction of business licensing,” commented Stephen Grieve, “with all of the important implications involved in that process. This move also demonstrates the SSAIB’s credentials within the market as we operate for the benefit of licensing and certification customers around the UK and Ireland.”

Founded in 1994 and based in Tyne & Wear, the SSAIB also offers a range of management systems certification schemes, including ISO 9001 quality management systems certification and ISO 14001 environmental management systems certification.

Over 1,500 companies are now included on the SSAIB’s register.

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First three companies meet proposed SIA business licensing requirements

Renown Protection Limited, Stopfordian and West Valley are the first three companies to achieve product certification to British security standards from BSI to help them meet proposed Security lndustry Authority (SIA) business licensing requirements.

The SIA currently requires that all security staff are licensed. From 6 April 2015, in addition to individuals, proposed new regulation will require that all private security businesses also hold an SIA business licence in order to demonstrate their competence to deliver security services.

To meet this proposed new legal requirement, Renown Protection Limited, Stopfordian and West Valley have taken advantage of a new pathway for security companies to gain an SIA business licence via third party product certification to relevant British security standards with the BSI.

Renown Protection Limited knows it will need to gain a business licence in order to continue to operate on a legal basis when the new business licensing regime comes into force. However, as a small firm the company has had to consider all possible options (including potentially closing down the business).

“As a small company, we wondered if it was worth getting a licence, but when we looked into it more closely we saw we were already doing a lot of the things we’d need to do,” said Jay Hollick, managing director at Renown. “The biggest challenge lies in ‘winning hearts and minds’. However, once we got buy-in from everyone they understood why we needed to complete paperwork, for example, and they could see the benefit of regular training and in-house refreshers as well as keeping a record of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).”

By law, security operatives working under contract and all door supervisors must hold and display a valid SIA licence card

By law, security operatives working under contract and all door supervisors must hold and display a valid SIA licence card

This new route to compliance particularly benefits those businesses looking to provide clients with independent proof of their commitment to offering a quality service. “Product certification and licensing shows clients and prospects that this is how we do business. It proves it without us having to convince them,” added Hollick.

By placing more emphasis on staff training and development, the company has also seen improved staff performance and morale. “We have always taken pride in giving staff a thorough induction and training,” asserted Hollick, “but whereas it has been largely verbal in the past, it’s now much better documented and methodical. Staff are more motivated which means that our clients receive a better service.”

Building on performance and reputation

Stopfordian and West Valley see the product certification route as an opportunity to not only meet the proposed new statutory licensing requirements but also build on their existing good performance and reputation.

Earlier this year, Stopfordian formed a strategic partnership with West Valley. The two firms now work together to protect their collective clients at work, home and in-between. A key benefit of the product certification process has been in helping them both maintain their quality ethos, and building upon it to make day-to-day running of the businesses as efficient as possible.

The process has also enabled the companies to look deeper into what they do and how they do it, leading them to devise and implement improved structures and processes.

“The thorough approach to even seemingly small parts of the job meant that all aspects of the company were looked into, considered and improved,” explained Laura White, Stopfordian’s office manager. “For example, stringent key holding procedures ensure the safety of clients’ venues. While time-consuming, screening and vetting procedures are necessary and hugely beneficial as we’re able to verify that our staff are of the highest quality.”

White went on to state: “Product certification has ensured that the two companies mirror each other in terms of procedures and service. As a result, they are not only able to serve existing clients, but also to promote the new merged entity in a way that’s quality assured. We are now able to increase business while running the companies in the most efficient way, in turn saving money and driving profits.”

Suzanne Fribbins, risk management specialist at BSI, commented: “Renown Protection Limited, Stopfordian and West Valley should all be very proud of their achievement in being the first to receive third party product certification to meet the Government’s proposed new requirements for security companies. They can now demonstrate they have independently verified Best Practice processes in place which will provide their clients with peace of mind that any operative entering their venue has been stringently assessed. Compliance with the security industry’s proposed business licensing regime will also enhance their ability to win and retain contracts, and shows a clear commitment to continual improvement.”

View Case Studies here: http://www.bsigroup.com/LocalFiles/en-GB/SIA/case-studies/BSI-SIA-Product-Certification-Stopfordian-WestValley-case-study-UK-EN.pdf and here: http://www.bsigroup.com/LocalFiles/en-GB/SIA/case-studies/BSI-SIA-Product-Certification-Renown-case-study-EN-UK.pdf

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Home Office/Security Industry Authority: ‘Revised timetable for business licensing’

On Thursday 27 February, at a meeting of the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Strategic Consultative Group, Home Office officials updated representatives of the private security industry on the timetable for introducing business licensing.

The group was told that the Home Office remains committed to introducing business licensing.

The necessary arrangements to allow the SIA to start accepting business licence applications in April 2014 are not yet in place, and therefore the ‘Open for Business’ date has been postponed.

The Home Office will announce a revised business licensing timetable as soon as possible.

The private security industry will be given at least three months’ notice of the ‘Open for Business’ date.

SIA CEO Bill Butler

SIA CEO Bill Butler

Revised dates will allow at least six months between the ‘Open for Business’ date and the legal requirement date (when it will become a legal requirement for businesses to hold a licence).

The legal requirement date remains set at 6 April 2015.

The Strategic Consultative Group comprises representatives from the private security industry, the SIA, the Home Office, the Scottish Government, the Department of Justice Northern Ireland, the industry skills sector, Parliament and other parties interested in the private security industry.

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Sir Ian Johnston joins the SIA’s Board

Sir Ian Johnston has joined the Security Industry Authority (SIA) as a non-executive Board member.

The appointment – which was ratified on 5 February – will see Sir Ian work closely with the SIA’s executive team to ensure the Regulator carries out its duties effectively and to the highest possible standard.

Sir Ian was appointed by the Home Office after an open competition and will serve as a non-executive member of the Board for a three-year term.

Sir Ian’s knowledge and experience in the field of policing and security will be invaluable as the SIA moves towards the introduction of licensing for security businesses.

Sir Ian Johnston

Sir Ian Johnston

On his new appointment, Sir Ian Johnston said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed as a Board member for the SIA. The private security industry has a growing role to play in keeping people safe. Therefore, helping to raise standards is an immensely worthwhile task.”

Sir Ian concluded: “I’m very much looking forward to contributing towards enhancing the quality of what the industry delivers in the years to come.”

Career history to date

Sir Ian is a Deputy Lieutenant for London, a trustee of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and a member of the Audit Committee for the British Museum.

Previously, he served as the director of security for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That role followed on from a 44-year policing career, including eight years as chief constable of the British Transport Police and seven years as assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan Police Service.

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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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Security Industry Authority announces indicative cost ranges for business licensing

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is now able to share latest estimates of business licensing costs under the proposed regime. The ranges are intended to assist businesses in planning and preparing for the new regime.

The cost ranges are indicative and subject to refinement. Although the costs influence fee levels, the final fees will be set by the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Treasury.

However, when the fee ranges are agreed, the SIA will share this information as soon as it’s available.

Two components to business licensing fees

The fees associated with business licensing will have two components. The first is the application fee, which is a one-off fixed fee payable when a company applies for a business licence. The second component is the subscription fee. This is an annual fee designed to maintain the business licence which is calculated on a fixed subscription fee and a variable (per head) fee.

The Security Industry Authority is now able to share latest estimates of business licensing costs under the proposed regime

The Security Industry Authority is now able to share latest estimates of business licensing costs under the proposed regime

Business licensing fees will be determined by the size of the business. This is calculated as the annual average head count in the previous year, being the average number of licensable individuals who carried out licensable conduct on behalf of (or under) the direction of the business over the course of the year.

The SIA has chosen headcount as the best measure for the size of a business as labour is fundamental to how the security industry operates. The Regulator understands that parts of the security industry experience seasonal demand. This is why it’s asking for an average annual figure as a demonstration of business activity.

Indicative cost ranges

The SIA estimates that its costs for the proposed new regulation will fall within the following ranges:

Micro businesses: £300-£500 application fee followed by a flat subscription fee of £500-£1,000

Small businesses: £300-£500 application fee followed by a flat subscription fee of £500-£1,000

Medium-sized businesses: £650-£1,000 application fee followed by an annual subscription fee of £500-£1,000 plus a per head cost of £17-£25

Large businesses: £1,000-£1,400 application fee followed by an annual subscription fee of £500-£1,000 plus a per head cost of £17-£25

Implementation dates for business licensing

Subject to ministerial approval, all regulated security businesses will need to hold an SIA business licence from 6 April 2015.

The Regulator has been working with the Home Office on the introduction of business licensing. Home Office ministers have publicly stated their commitment to the regulatory reforms and the introduction of business regulation.

SIA CEO Bill Butler

SIA CEO Bill Butler

The Scottish Government and Department of Justice for Northern Ireland have indicated that they’re supportive of a consistent UK-wide regulatory regime.

Business licensing is subject to ministerial approval and the approval of the Scottish Government and the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland.

• 7 April 2014: The SIA will start to accept business licence applications
• 1 October 2014: This is the last recommended business licence application date. The SIA cannot guarantee that it will complete the processing of any business licence applications received after 1 October 2014 in time for 6 April 2015

• 6 April 2015: The date when it will become a legal requirement to have a business licence

Read the full statement issued by the Security Industry Authority

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