Bob Forsyth – Is Covid-19 a Turning Point for our Sector’s Recognition?

bob_forsyth_photoWho would have thought that in just a few weeks life would be transformed by an invisible enemy known as Covid-19, bringing a shocking death toll and shutting down the global economy?

The final impact on the economy will only become clear as countries emerge from their lockdown periods. However, with economists from bodies likes the IMF stating it could be worse than that seen in the Great Depression, we are undoubtably in for a bumpy ride.

Despite the adversity, I do think that the current situation could mark a turning point in the way the security, and indeed wider FM sectors, are viewed by the public, the government and many forward-thinking clients. Whilst in no way comparing us to the brave and committed people facing fear and risk every day in the NHS and across the frontline, our industry has stepped up to the challenge; with businesses demonstrating their best in supporting government and the critical services to ensure that they can remain open for business. Be it in hospitals, supermarkets, distribution centres, pharmacies or in support of the blue light services, the industry has played its part in keeping vital supplies and services moving to meet the public need in its time of crisis.

The decision by the Government to make our sector key workers in support of these critical frontline roles is another great step forward for us to prove our value and worth as a service. Equally, the way the BSIA and SIA came together to lobby Government on this necessity was great to see, and perhaps shows belatedly that the Private Security Sector has a more unified voice.

The customers we are supporting through this unprecedented challenge have seen the value we can bring in helping them to keep their facilities secure and operational when the majority of the economy has pushed the pause button. This has allowed us, in some instances, to move up the ‘value chain’ away from being seen as a commodity service. If we capitalise on this by supplementing the great work we do with the right ingredients – higher pay, better technology and integration between people, processes and systems – we could exit this crisis as a sector that is seen to add value to our customers’ operations and help them rebound from adversity.  Indeed, we may yet become more than just a discretionary spend, translating into more sustainable business models.

Well done to all those involved across the sector in supporting the vital services to the Country. My hat goes off to you all, stay safe.