Tag Archives: UK Crowd Management Association

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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HABC Level 2 Award hailed as “landmark achievement” in UK event security

Showsec’s ongoing commitment towards raising standards and professionalism throughout the security sector has received a major boost with the development of an internationally-recognised qualification for Front of Stage pit barrier operations.

A Level 2 Award has been created in partnership with the Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) which is specifically designed for stewarding and security professionals wishing to operate at the Front of Stage area for live events.

While a commitment to developing and delivering specialist training courses has underpinned Showsec’s success, the move has also been driven by a strong desire to be at the forefront of progression in the sector.

That objective has been achieved with the launch of this new qualification in conjunction with HABC, a market leader in the field of security-specific training courses across the United Kingdom and a number of other countries.

Prototype testing in Holland

A prototype of the pit barrier security course was tested by Showsec’s training and development manager Roy Wise on a visit to the company’s sister organisation TSC in Holland. Following further development, it has now received HABC’s seal of approval.

The first course was recently held in Nottingham when nine members of staff successfully completed the training to gain the Level 2 Award.

“This is a landmark achievement for the industry,” commented Mark Harding, Showsec’s managing director. “Not only does this news serve the best interests of public safety and staff development, just as significantly, but it also provides further assurance to our clients that they’re the recipients of the highest standards in the industry.”

Mark Harding: managing director of Showsec

Mark Harding: managing director of Showsec

Harding continued: “This Level 2 Award adds to a portfolio of qualifications which are being generated to lift industry standards. As a company, we feel it’s important to play an influential role in helping the industry to achieve that objective.”

In conclusion, Harding stated: “This formal qualification is further recognition for the expertise of our highly-trained workforce and sets the benchmark for those who wish to work in this line of security. We’re continually looking to push the bar to new levels. This course has been developed so that it will be recognised internationally.”

Details of the award have been circulated to security professionals and will shortly be available on the HABC website.

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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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Showsec achieves record-breaking Approved Contractor Scheme rating

Showsec has raised the bar once again by achieving a record-breaking score in the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme audit for an eighth successive year.

A rigorous three-day assessment of the company’s operations resulted in the award of an impressive score of 132, putting Showsec in the Top 5% of security companies in the UK.

The Approved Contractor Scheme auditors for door supervision and security guarding services praised all aspects of Showsec’s set-up, highlighting as good practice the ways in which the company’s training modules, its e-learning platform and senior management support all help to stimulate career development and progression.

The assessment covered all elements of the business over the three days of inspection, the findings reached after interviews with staff at all levels as well as representatives from client organisations.

Showsec scored particularly highly in three of the nine categories – strategy, financial management and leadership – while performing strongly in all other areas to ensure there was a rise in the company’s rating.

Good benchmark of progression

“This assessment provides a good benchmark of how the company progresses year-on-year,” said Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding, “so it’s extremely satisfying for everyone that we’ve achieved our highest-ever score yet again – the eighth year in a row we have done so.”

Harding continued: “The ACS is a recognised hallmark of quality for companies looking to engage security providers. To be up there in the Top 5% of over 650 companies is an achievement we should all be immensely proud of.”

Showsec's managing director Mark Harding at this year's Download Festival

Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding at this year’s Download Festival

Showsec delivers 97% of its business through its own staff. That being the case, clients can be assured that the standards achieved through the ACS are directly reflected in the solutions delivered to them.

“We were one of the first companies to adopt the ACS upon its introduction,” asserted Harding, “because we were committed to encouraging and driving the raising of standards across the wider security industry. This latest excellent result will certainly give added impetus to the dedicated efforts of so many people within the company, and that can only boost our attempts to keep pushing that bar even higher.”

He added: “We’ve consistently done that over the past eight years which is very pleasing, but there is always room for improvement and we will be endeavouring to do that with our ongoing initiatives aimed at raising standards. This is especially important with the introduction of business licensing in 2015.”

Addressing challenges faced by security companies

Mark Harding has a dual interest in Showsec being at the forefront of a co-ordinated path of career progression in the sector.

In addition to his role at Showsec, Harding sits on the Strategy and Standards Advisory Board for the UK Crowd Management Association which addresses challenges faced by security companies.

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Showsec’s football stewarding operation expands with Stoke City deal

Stoke City has become the latest top flight football club to engage the security and crowd management expertise offered by Showsec for Barclays Premier League fixtures at the Britannia Stadium during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Showsec’s progressive stewarding and stadium security regime is geared towards enhancing the matchday experience for football fans, with Stoke City now joining a growing number of clubs nationwide at different levels in the game who make good use of the company’s expertise.

Showsec’s services are also employed by fellow Premier League clubs Manchester City and Sunderland – Stoke’s opponents at the Britannia Stadium only recently – while their presence extends throughout other leagues to clubs including Championship high-fliers Leeds United.

The Britannia Stadium: home of Stoke City FC. Credit: Phil Greig/Stoke City FC (www.greigphotography.com - ©Stoke City Football Club 2013)

The Britannia Stadium: home of Stoke City FC. Credit: Phil Greig/Stoke City FC (www.greigphotography.com – ©Stoke City Football Club 2013)

“Football is a crucial element of the company’s growth, so the opportunity to expand upon the work which we are already doing in this field and operate at another Premier League club is an important development for us moving forwards,” commented Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding.

“The Britannia Stadium is renowned for having one of the best atmospheres in English football, and our matchday operation will set out to ensure that remains so for all supporters who are visiting the ground this season.”

Harding concluded: “Our commitment is towards providing the right support to football clubs such that they’re able to offer a safe and enjoyable experience for the fans.”

Switched on to crowd management

Stoke City’s Health and Safety manager Rob Killingworth drew on previous experience of working with Showsec when he turned to them for crowd management support for the Boothen End of the ground this season.

“I was impressed with what I saw of Showsec’s operation during my time at Nottingham Forest and Notts County, so I knew the company could offer what we were looking for in terms of experience and expertise,” explained Killingworth.

“Showsec has excellent supervisors who are very switched on to our needs in terms of crowd management. The other thing they’re particularly good at is communication, which is so very important from an operational perspective.”

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