Bob Forsyth – A view on business licensing

Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management
Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) discusses business licensing. Bob writes:

“The Government has been contemplating a new regulatory regime for our industry for three years in order to reduce some of the bureaucratic costs and burdens associated with the current scheme.

“As a business leader in the private security industry, I welcomed the notion of change as the current system of regulation needed to evolve as our industry has. Of course, regulation must set standards for business practice, but there is also an opportunity for it to propel our industry to attract the best people looking for a challenging and fulfilling career.

“I fully support the scheme as anything that tightens regulation and professionalises our industry should be applauded, and less administration and reduction in business red tape must be the end goal.

“This SIA has announced that from April 2015, every private security company will have to hold a business licence – a scheme that will run alongside individual licensing. Businesses in the security industry have one year from April 2014 to be granted their licence and must have all accreditations and standards in place to be ‘fit and proper’.

“There is one major disappointment in the current proposed legislation is that in-house staff are still not part of the licensing plans, which is a two tier system that seems unfair and totally out of touch, so an in-house security team can be unlicensed, untrained and under the radar!

“I foresee some challenges for the micro security providers who are not already compliant with the standards required for the new business licensing: significant investment will be needed and could be cost prohibitive. This may see further consolidation within our sector through acquisitions or those smaller companies ceasing to trade. The Government will ensure a period of transition, but this will only last for a certain period of time; eventually there will be one standard which should be welcomed.

“It is not yet clear how the ACS scheme will transition itself in the new regulatory world however I would like to see a scheme that recognises quality and drives true differentiation; this is one of the more interesting areas of debate and conjecture.

“Another significant change is the emphasis on the liability of the ‘controlling minds’ ie managing directors like me. Similar to the way the Corporate Manslaughter Act has bought health and safety duty of care to the forefront of other industries, those in charge of a private security company will responsible for safety of employees.

“Overall it’s important that as this process evolves, we remember that we need to use this opportunity to drive positive change and quality for our industry.”

With over 17 years’ experience in the security industry, Bob is a proven achiever at a high level. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

Bob was promoted to the position of Managing Director of MITIE’s security business in April 2010 after several notable achievements since joining the company in 2004, including his win of the prestigious MITIE new business award.

Having successfully implemented the merger with Initial Security in the Southern region and developing a profitable part of the business, Bob has continuously worked towards expansion including the implementation of the response service, and has significantly contributed towards year on year growth. In June 2009, Bob initiated the launch of the business’ total security management ethos; to take an integrated risk-based approach to security, incorporating people, technology and consultancy services.

Bob continues to move the business forward and has delivered record EBITA profit. He has increased business retention and launched new services lines including lone worker, void secure, employee screening, and security risk and business resilience. Under his leadership, MITIE’s total security management business has grown into an organisation with a turnover in excess of £280m. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA).

Mitie Total Security Management Website