Chris Cully, the Managing Director of risk & security management company, Dilitas writes exclusively for Infologue.com. Chris writes:
“On the 27th February 2014, at a meeting held by the Security Industry Authority’s Strategic Consultative Group, Home Office officials briefed a number of representatives of the private security industry on the timetable they had defined for introducing Business Licensing for the Security Industry.
“For information, the Strategic Consultative Group are comprised of representatives from the private security industry, SIA, Home Office, Scottish Government, Department of Justice Northern Ireland, industry skills sector, Parliament and other parties who are interested in the private security industry. A finer group of experts and talking heads you could not expect to find!
“Essentially, the input from the Home Office is that they remain committed to business licensing and the process by which it will be introduced across this industry. However, in the true efficiency of the Home Office and its innumerable civil servants, the industry representatives were informed that the necessary arrangements and procedures to enable the Security Industry Authority to start accepting business licences applications in April 2014 are not yet in place. Thus the start date is postponed.
“Not withstanding the groans and complaints which rose long and loud from the security industry and mutterings of “here we go again” & “yet another SIA f***k up”, the Home Office will apparently announce a revision of the timetable for business licencing “as soon as possible”. The security industry will apparently been given three months notice of the “open for business” date.
“The revision of these dates will apparently allow at least six months between the “open for business” date and the legal requirement date, at which time it will be a legal requirement for businesses to hold a licence. For information, the legal requirement date still remains the 6th April 2015.
“For those of us who have been in this industry for a good few years, we remember the great fan fares and trumpeting that heralded the launch of the SIA and the licensing of various sectors of the Security Industry, all of which was designed to improve standards and quality of individuals and companies in the security industry.
“We also remember the total abject chaos in which the SIA barely functioned for the first few years of its life and the on-going mayhem and difficulties they created amongst all those of us who were legally obliged to engage with it.
“Did they improve standards of and in the security industry? I think overall, yes they probably did and having survived the executioners blade at the start of the new parliament, they are still here to support us and keep us focussed on our professionalism.
“So the next questions are; will the SIA be able to manage the business licensing process and will it improve the standards of the security industry.
“The first question is answered by the principle of “suck it and see”. Quite frankly, if itdissolves into the chaos in which it operated at its inception, then it deserves to bedisbanded and let the industry get on with managing itself.
“Personally, I hope that the SIA has learned by its mistakes. Given that it is operated by civil servants, this is probably a big ask. However, ever the optimist, I believe that, given the time the SIA has had to organise and plan this process, even civil servants should be able to get this right.
“Will the licensing improve the standards in the industry? In theory, it should. In practice, hopefully, it will.
“However, let us not forget that sat behind the SIA is the glowering, Mordor like shadow of HMRC and its determination to ensure they see all companies which they deem not operating to suitable standards, be removed from the industry.
“So, you can either stand on the outside of the tent and do that thing inwards or stand inside the tent and do that thing outwards. Choice is yours.
“Here at Dilitas we will naturally engage with the process and ensure we are suitable compliant with the licensing process, obtain our license and continue in the security industry.”