Infologue.com has decided to change the style of its Annual Reviews in keeping with its new format launched in early 2009. We have asked the leaders of the four key security industry bodies, the Security Industry Authority, the British Security Industry Association, the Security Institute and Skills for Security to set out their achievements in 2009. Since our inception in 1997, Infologue.com, has been outspoken on industry issues but decided it was more important that the message during 2009 came directly from the industry stakeholders, normal service will be resumed in 2010!
We used our Features section to act as a conduit for delivering such communications, which based on our page impressions, has been highly successful. In respect of the Infologue.com Top 20 and the Building the Future Award, we are working on new formats and will announce these in early 2010. The most read story of 2009 was Bill Muskin’s Ramifications for the Industry on the SIA decision not to include In House security operatives into the scope of the Private Security Industry Act, 2001. We therefore award Bill Muskin with the Infologue.com accolade – Newsmaker of the Year. Finally, we would like to thank our readers for their continued support and wish them Compliments of the Season and a prosperous New Year.
Bobby Logue – Editor – Infologue.com
SIA CHAIRMAN BARONESS HENIG – PLEASED BUT NOT COMPLACENT
“I am pleased with what we have achieved this year, but we are not complacent and recognise that there is still much to be done to simplify and better focus our efforts. We will continue to work hard to improve our service and to work closely with stakeholders and partners. We welcome the challenges and opportunities that 2010 will bring.” Says Baroness Ruth Henig, The Security Industry Authority, (SIA) Chairman.
I was delighted to welcome Bill Butler as our new chief executive. Bill has already met with many of our government, industry and other stakeholders and is, I know, keen to hear of the challenges facing the security industry. In October, the Better Regulation Executive issued their report on the SIA. They identified areas where we can improve, but I was pleased with their overall conclusion that, as a whole, we had made real progress in improving our performance as a regulator and that we are prioritising better regulation principles. Our customers rightly demand from us an effective and efficient licensing service. While in the past we have experienced service problems, this year has seen licensing processing times significantly improve, with 92% of all licences processed within 40 days against our target of 85%. Two months ago, we completed a comprehensive initial customer satisfaction survey and we were pleased at the overall satisfaction rate of 76%. Our Compliance and Investigation teams continued to work closely with our partners, taking a risk-based approach to tackling illegal activity. There were a number of compliance checks on security sites, pubs and clubs throughout 2009. Investigators undertook several high-profile operations with partners including one of the largest operations mounted in Scotland to tackle rogue security companies. The overall compliance rate remains consistently over 90% with a number of successful prosecutions, mainly against individuals.
Membership of the Approved Contractor Scheme has exceeded our forecast – there are now more than 648 companies approved with more than 150 having applied for approval for the first time. Stakeholder engagement is an important activity for us, and we have kept in regular touch with the industry by means of consultations, ACS forums, network meetings, our well attended annual conference and meetings with industry representatives, Government bodies and regulators, industry or trade associations and our enforcement partners.
On 1 December, SIA licensing was extended into Northern Ireland, creating a single licensing scheme for the United Kingdom. Throughout implementation, stakeholder engagement was at the forefront of our approach by means of roadshows, meetings and workshops to ensure that those requiring a licence would be working legally by 1 December. We have been impressed by the prompt take up of the licence requirements and have already welcomed five new Northern Ireland based companies into the ACS.
ACS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR ANDREW SHEPHERD – A YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION
2009 has seen the expansion of Approved Contractors Scheme (ACS) into Northern Ireland but otherwise it has been a year of taking stock; consolidation of planned improvements and a series of reviews to help prepare for the longer term. August saw the 1000th application for ACS status. The number of approved contractors is levelling out though at around the 650 mark. Although there were more than 100 new approvals during 2009, around 30 approved contractors have ceased trading or been subject to merger or acquisition and a further 30 contractors have allowed their approval to lapse or have had approval withdrawn by the SIA. New ACS rules have been introduced to prevent approval of so-called ‘phoenix’ companies.
In April 2009, following announcements in 2008, enhanced requirements were introduced on 25 out of 89 indicators in the ACS workbook. One of the new requirements is conformance with relevant British Standards. This significant change could simplify assessments and may encourage end-users to rely further on ACS. A study into the potential for differentiation within the ACS found strong support for the existing ‘level playing field’ and concluded that there should be no additional tiers of approval. However, the SIA will introduce further opportunities within the existing approval system to help contractors differentiate themselves.
Throughout the year the SIA has continued to engage with approved contractors and with other ACS stakeholders. More than 50 events have been held ranging from approved contractor forums for sharing ideas and good practice to training events on licence dispensation and on the assessment process. Finally, but significantly, the Scottish Government announced in December that any supplier of security services to the Scottish Government must be an SIA approved contractor. This requirement could be extended in the future to all public contracts in Scotland as part of the fight against organised crime.