Report on the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the International Professional Security Association

The Association’s 2011 Annual General Meeting and lunch were held at the Churchill Museum and War Rooms on 20 September. It was there that Prime Minister Winston Churchill conducted operations during the Second World War. The choice of venue continued the theme of splendid locations following last year’s event on HMS Belfast. It was therefore all the more poignant with the news that veteran of HMS Belfast and IPSA Chief Inspector, Bruce Woodcock, had died suddenly a few days previously. Quoting from a tribute message written by one of Bruce’s early clients, acting Chairman Mike White highlighted the special attention give by Bruce to his role as a mentor and guide to new entrants to the profession and his sustained interest in their progress and success thereafter. Bruce had loyally served IPSA for over three decades in various roles. A minute’s silence followed to mark his passing and to express condolences to his Wife Lyn and Family.

In the absence of the Chairman, David Barratt, Mike White opened the meeting and welcomed the members and several guests that including representatives Dave Humphries and Robin Dahlberg of the SIA.

Delivering the Chairman’s address Mike surveyed the past year’s activities, noting the robust response to the government’s threatened abolition of the SIA that was lead by IPSA and quickly taken up by other associations. Subsequently IPSA had been prominent in the various stakeholder consultations between the SIA and Industry that continued towards agreement for a new regulatory regime that would be effective, efficient and cost effective for government and the industry.

Additionally, the Association was represented on several British Standards review committees and in this way ensured that the interests of members and member companies were taken into consideration in determining industry standards and practice;

Chief Executive Officer, Justin Bentley, summarized his written report highlighting the important role IPSA was taking in the many consultations that were taking place between stakeholders and the SIA notably through the Security Alliance. He stressed that members would be kept informed of developments and if they had views and comments that they wished to be addressed they should make then known so that they can be included in IPSA submissions and discussions.

Referring to membership he said it continued to fluctuate but with no significant increase and the challenge for the next year was to build on the reputation and success of IPSA as the preferred professional and representative body and encourage more companies and individuals to join.

The Honorary Treasurer, Paul Trendall’s, written report was accepted in his absence as were the formal accounts.

Changes in the accounting practices regarding the treatment of subscriptions, changes in office structure and the waiving of some office holders of outstanding awarded sums resulted in the accounts showing a significantly improved position. The total effect showing an improved trading position would be more fully reflected in the accounts when prepared for the year 2011.

The election of Council Members followed. Five new nominations were included in a group of 14 members, all proposed, seconded and unanimously voted on to the Council for the ensuing year.

The full list of Council Members elected is:

David Barratt

Robert Begg (representing IPSA company member Elizabethan Security)

Paul Cullinan (representing IPSA company member Carlisle Cleaning & Security)

Kieran Donnelly (representing IPSA company member ISS Facility Services)

Roger Felgate

James Henderson

Adrian Kingston-Jones

Shaun Murphy

Stuart Naisbett

Simon Pears (representing IPSA company member Sodexo)

Dennis Ricketts (representing IPSA company member Spectrum Positive)

Simon Smith

Lynn Watts-Plumpkin

Mike White

[At the subsequent meeting of the IPSA International Council, Mike White was elected Chairman of the Association, Adrian Kingston-Jones was elected Deputy Chairman and Paul Cullinan was elected Treasurer.]

The Chairman thanked those standing down for their generous service during the year.

The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to Sodexo Ltd and Simon Pears their representative for supporting the event at such a prestigious venue and in spectacular style. Also to Innovise Software represented by Graeme Hughes and MacMillan Sheikh Plc represented by Sheikh Imtiaz Mahmood.

The formal business of the AGM was followed by an Open Forum during which the subject of forthcoming regulation was openly discussed and responses made by both Robin Dahlberg and Dave Humphries of the SIA.

Questions focused particularly on the business registration proposals and application of that to sole traders such as consultants, dog handlers etc. Robin Dahlberg stated that those concerned should make specific recommendations as to what they would regard as an acceptable cost for registration in order that the SIA can make suitable recommendations to Ministers.

After a very enjoyable networking lunch, a team of invited speakers addressed the gathering. Graeme Hughes of Innovise Software made a presentation of their software solutions used by the security industry and also many major facilities management companies.

Sheikh Imtiaz Mahmood delivered an address on behalf of Lord Sheikh who has been a generous supporter of IPSA for many years. Lord Sheikh paid tribute to Patrick Rabbits and his early leadership of the Association and that this had been resolutely followed by successive leaders over the years. He expressed great confidence that IPSA would continue to be a leading professional body for the industry and that he would be happy to support it in all its future endeavours.

Mr Bruce George, Privy Councillor and former Member of Parliament, spoke passionately about his long campaign whilst in Parliament to secure a regulated Private Security Industry and expressed his initial disappointment at the limitations of the scheme that was eventually introduced. He was critical of the early failures of the regulatory body to run an effective and efficient system. More recently, however, he noted that there had been significant improvements and effective enforcement against the criminal elements and those who sought to avoid regulation. It was therefore with great dismay and not a little anger that he had learned of the government’s intention to abandon regulation after so much had been achieved, although it was not by any means a comprehensive regulatory solution.

He went on to criticize the large industry companies for their apparent dominance in relation to determining the policy of minimal required training for security personnel. He contrasted the UK basic requirements with those of other countries of Europe which far exceeded ours and indicated a greater commitment towards professionalism in the industry than that aspired to in this country.

He urged IPSA to continue to pursue the goal of professional standards and recognition for security personnel at all levels based on good training and career development. Although now retired he declared that would still speak out and voice his concerns in the hope that the government of the day would understand and recognise that a regulated security industry that embraced the whole range of security functions that touch the public was a necessary condition for ensuring the protection of the public and supporting the police in the many areas of police activities that are increasingly being delegated to the private security industry.

Simon Pears of Sodexo Ltd took the opportunity to explain how Sodexo had come to decide that IPSA was their preferred professional body and declared that they had observed how very effective IPSA representatives were in putting the case for their members even when it appeared that their views were not being well received by the SIA and others. The company valued the timely flow of relevant news and information about the industry and legislative changes that they received from IPSA. He complimented IPSA on its performance and said that would recommend the Association to any company or individual seeking membership of such a body.

Mike White concluded the day with a brief summary and thanks to the guest speakers.

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