In my last article, writes Bill Muskin, who is Chairman of the security company VSG Ltd. I explained the need for a quality mark to help purchasing professionals differentiate between the best security service providers and the rest. I also mentioned that I am currently Chairing a working party on behalf of the BSIA, supported by the NSI and Skills for Security to compile a new standard that will do just this. In this article, I’m providing some more information about the new qualification. Please bear in mind, however, that it is a work in progress and there may be changes before the final details are released. In fact, we don’t yet have a name for our new quality mark so, for the purposes of this article only; I’m going to call it the ‘Premier Standard’. I can almost guarantee it won’t be called that when it’s launched!
Let’s start with our main objective. We want it to be recognised throughout the security industry and beyond as a credible, reliable indicator of true quality, and we hope that it will ultimately become a National Standard that does just that. There will be no restrictions on who can apply – award of the Premier Standard will NOT be limited to BSIA members; it will be open to all companies and accreditation will be based only on a thorough assessment of business ethics, practices and performance. To qualify, companies will, of course, have to meet the requirements of the ACS scheme and this will viewed as an entry level. The assessing body (yet to be decided upon) will be looking for evidence of best practice in areas such as corporate governance, terms and conditions of employment, employee welfare and, of course, training at all levels. Service delivery will also be evaluated in detail, as you might expect, and we anticipate that the assessors will give particular attention to things like the number of portfolios handled by front-line managers, the number of visits managers make to each of their assignments and the content of those visits. Out-of-hours supervision and support, together with escalation processes for all types of incident, especially in the way the 24 hour Control Room is operated, will also play a major part in the inspection process.
By now I expect that some of you are already starting to think about the financial implications of achieving the new standard and screaming out “What about the costs of change?” Actually this is the real nub of the matter! For those companies that already follow best practice – that is, those in the top tier of security providers – these costs will be negligible, because they will need to make only a few if any changes. For other companies whose service delivery and quality standards are lower, then the costs may well be significant, but they will have a clear choice of spending no money and staying where they are, or making the investment and moving into the premier league. There are no short cuts and no cheap solutions when it comes to delivering a quality service, and it’s only fair that those companies that have invested the time, money and effort to achieve excellence should be recognised. That’s why we’re developing the new Premier Standard – or whatever we eventually decide to call it!