Tag Archives: CSR

Reliance High-Tech names SSAFA as chosen charity in support of Armed Forces community

Reliance High-Tech, the independent security technology integrator and provider of lone worker protection services, has named SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) as its 2019-2020 corporate charity. Throughout the year, Reliance High-Tech’s employees will engage in a range of activities to raise funds and help with the vital work that SSAFA carries out for serving personnel, veterans and military families across the UK and worldwide.

SSAFA has been providing lifelong support to the Armed Forces and their families since 1885. Last year, its teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 82,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans through to young men and women who’ve served in more recent conflicts.

“We take the selection of our corporate charity very seriously and were unanimous in the view that the incredible work that SSAFA does to support those who’ve served their nation, and been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, was a perfect fit with our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives,” explained David Walton, director of finance at Reliance High-Tech. “Furthermore, many of our current employees are ex-Armed Forces personnel and we believe that supporting SSAFA on a national level enhances our levels of employee engagement.”

Kelvin King, regional service manager at Reliance High-Tech, stated: “This is brilliant, I’m happy to try and collect funding as much as I can”.  This sentiment was echoed by project manager Lee Jones, who commented: “Being ex-Welsh Guards myself, I would be more than happy to be involved with anything in my regional area.”

SSAFA Descriptor RIGHT_WHITE

Amendment of CSR policy

Although raising funds is vitally important for SSAFA, so too is providing the time, energy and resources needed to help it carry out its fundraising activities. As such, Reliance High-Tech has amended its CSR policy to give each member of staff one day of paid leave to actively volunteer their time to help with SSAFA’s charitable projects.

The company has also appointed eight regional co-ordinators who’ll ensure that help is available where and when it’s needed. The business has committed to match any money raised from employee activities.

Reliance High-Tech will  play an active role in Armed Forces Week, which runs from 24-30 June, helping out with Big Brew-Ups around the country. Big Brew-Ups are a perfect way to convene with friends and family, colleagues or neighbours, have a chat over tea and cake and donate to SSAFA.

Jonny King, corporate fundraising officer at SSAFA, enthused: “I’m delighted that Reliance High-Tech has selected us as its chosen charity for 2019-2020. The business will help us raise funds to support Armed Forces personnel and their families in their times of need. From speaking to David, it’s clear that there’s a genuine synergy between our organisations. I’m very much looking forward to working with him and the rest of the Reliance High-Tech team in the months ahead.”

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‘Fire risk management systems should be formalised’ urges FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council

In the wake of prominent multi-fatality fires, organisations have spent considerable sums of money on fire safety but not necessarily achieved an improved level of fire safety assurance. Having spent a number of years undertaking fire risk assessments on the same portfolio of buildings, Ben Bradford states that it’s noticeable some organisations are beginning to wonder if the current practice is sustainable.

It has been almost nine years since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 prompted many organisations to undertake fire risk assessments within the premises under their control. Several have spent significant financial resources on consultant fire risk assessors (a person who carries out and documents the significant findings of a fire risk assessment) only to discover that, although the advice they received may have been offered with the best of intentions, it was not wholly appropriate. Indeed, it may also have differed from the advice of a ‘competent’ fire risk assessor.

At the same time, the fire industry has itself spent a considerable amount of time in the last few years deciding how to define a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment and also how to tackle the ‘cowboy’ market. It would appear that, at long last, there’s now at least a ‘defined’ competency criterion for fire risk assessors and guidance for those charged with delivering fire risk assessment programmes on how to seek the services of a competent fire risk assessor.

Following a recent enforcement review around the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which was undertaken by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is now committed to promoting the use – and acceptance – of recognised professional certification and accreditation for commercial fire risk assessors.

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk assessments are the very cornerstone of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, yet the value of such an assessment – even when conducted by a competent fire risk assessor – is largely dependent on the organisation’s ability to manage the outcomes.

A fire risk assessment is a means to an end but not the end in itself. When reviewing the high profile prosecutions that have hit the headlines over the past few years, one quickly realises that failure to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment (under Article 9) is not the only compliance obligation imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There are numerous other duties by which the responsible person is bound.

Cost of fire at an all-time high

Enter the concept of ‘fire risk management’. With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. Rather, it encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire.

In today’s global and interconnected marketplace, issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility and reputational risk are extremely prominent. News headlines travel fast via both traditional and new media forms. The cost of fire is at an all-time high and, in these tough economic times, organisations need to be frugal with finite financial resources. In essence, they require to build resilience and ensure that fire risk assessment programmes deliver the intended outcomes.

Many organisations have a policy in place setting out an overarching statement of intent (signed by the CEO) and firmly establishing the ‘What’ and ‘Why’. Less common, yet essential, is the Fire Risk Management Strategy – a document which defines an organisation’s fire risk management system and method of implementing the overarching policy, and which firmly establishes the details of ‘How’, ‘When’ and ‘Who’.

These two pieces of documentation form the backbone of an organisation’s fire risk management system (a set of interrelated or interacting elements within an organisation designed to establish policies, objectives and processes to achieve those objectives and manage fire risk) and are generally underpinned by operational procedures.

The practice of fire risk management within our built environment is a much broader discipline than many give it credit for. It’s often delegated to the Health and Safety manager or the security manager within an organisation and, while I’m not suggesting that all companies should have a dedicated fire specialist responsible for fire risk management, they must acknowledge that fire safety is not just a sub-discipline of Health and Safety.

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

Fire risk management is a discipline in its own right with its own set of competencies. It does not always sit neatly in the Health and Safety Department due to the need for interaction with property, estates or facilities management functions. The old adage about ‘Jack of all trades’ most certainly applies. Too many fire safety manager roles are advertised with the essential qualifications stated as a NEBOSH Diploma, which merely emphasises the confusion often found in organisations regarding the scope of the Health and Safety manager’s role.

When undertaking fire risk management system audits, my experience is that those organisations recognising fire risk management as a discipline in its own right – regardless of which department the function sits – are in a far better position to maintain governance over organisational fire risk than those that do not.

Competency criteria to be considered

The Fire Sector Federation has recognised that, having established the Competency Council and published the competency criteria for fire risk assessors, the next logical step is to consider the competency criteria for those actively engaged in fire risk management.

Following an initial meeting of key stakeholders, organised jointly between the Fire Sector Federation and the Fire Industry Association, there’s now a proposal afoot to reform the Competency Council and really tackle this issue.

Some organisations have formalised their fire safety policy, strategy and procedures and are now in the process of gaining fire risk management system certification via a third party certification body. Those organisations that already hold certification of their Health and Safety management system to OHSAS 18001 or business continuity management system to ISO 22301 are well placed to integrate their management systems and streamline the internal or external audit process.

Fire risk management system certification via a UKAS-accredited third party certification body will provide a means to reduce the burden on enforcing authorities and significantly support the Primary Authority (or Fire Authority) partnership schemes.

Fire risk management is evolving (both as a discipline and a practice) as an integrated or holistic approach to understanding and managing the risks posed by the threat of fire which enables an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and achieve more efficient results.

Those responsible for fire safety in organisations would do well to consider formalising their fire risk management system, and not focus solely on the process of documenting fire risk assessments.

Ben Bradford BSc MSc MBA CEng FCIBSE FRICS FIFireE is a member of the FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council and the founder/managing director of BB7

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