BSIA CEO interviewed by Key Security Industry Figures. PART 1

Mike Reddington, Chief Executive at the BSIA

The BSIA has recently appointed Mike Reddington as their new Chief Executive following the departure of previous CEO, James Kelly. Infologue is proud to publish the first press interview with Mr. Reddington which hopes to offer an insight into the direction that he plans to take the BSIA.

Infologue’s Publisher, Bobby Logue notes that “the BSIA is at a crossroads and it believes that with the appointment of Mike, they will be able to set a new course and most importantly demonstrate tangible value for money to their members and the industry at large.”

In trying to help achieve this goal, instead of interviewing Mike Reddington ourselves, Infologue has turned to the security industry’s influencers to find out what questions are most important to the BSIA’s immediate stakeholders. Due to the level of interest and the volume of questions posed by our contributors, we will be separating this interview into two parts. Part Two of this interview can be viewed by clicking here.

Brendan Musgrove, MD at Cordant Security writes:

Q1. How do the BSIA intend to add value to their membership?

MR: “The BSIA provides its members with a vehicle to collectively provide input and feedback on standards and potential improvements/enhancements in the industry. It also enables its members to develop and share best practice that develops, enhances and progresses the services the private security industry deliver. Membership of the BSIA is also a recognised kite mark of professionalism and quality, giving confidence to potential customers that they are choosing a reliable partner for their purchase/delivery of the service they require. In addition, we are actively working with major national insurance companies to look at how end users can benefit by using a BSIA member company.”

Q2. What do they see as the major challenges to the industry and how do the BSIA intend to help mitigate these for their members?

MR: “Technology is moving at a rapid pace and there are also lots of new entrants into the security industry some of who don’t have the knowledge, skill or experience to deliver the products and service that end users require. The BSIA is continually working with its members and partners across all sectors of the professional security industry to ensure a high level of quality and professionalism is maintained in the private security industry through vetting of employees, education and training and that appropriate standards and best practice are implemented. A major challenge, especially to the Security Guarding members, is the increase in the National Living Wage coupled with additional pension costs and stagnant charge rates giving unsustainable low margins within this section of the industry. An additional challenge is also the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and how this will impact migration and the effect that may have on the availability of labour, which will inevitably drive wage inflation. The BSIA is working closely with a range of stakeholders involved in this market to look at how the margins can be lifted using added value, insurance cost reduction and legislation. The BSIA is also actively promoting the security industry across multiple mediums, and promoting ‘Security a career of choice’ to increase the talent and number of people coming into our industry.”

Q3. How do the BSIA intend to help manage industry standards to aid their membership?

MR: “Membership of the association is clearly recognised as the kite-mark for quality and professionalism in the sector and the BSIA’s goal is to ensure we remain the leading voice of the private security industry. This will be achieved through our continued participation within relevant standard committees and approval organisations coupled with close working relationships with Insurers, Police authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners. We can see various pathways where with the right training and standards that the private security industry can work in partnership alongside the Police to provide a safer community and a reduction in crime, whilst providing cost benefits to the various police services within the UK.”

Gemma Quirke, MD at Wilson James Security asks:

Q4. While Wilson James is currently not a member of BSIA, we continue to evaluate organisations who will raise standards across the industry. What can we expect to see under new leadership that will support this aim?

MR: “The BSIA proactively works with its members, other relevant associations, the police and government departments to influence and develop standards and best practice for the professional security industry. The BSIA is the recognised primary vehicle and voice of the professional security industry and encourages companies like yourself to join the association to ensure you have a strong and collective voice in developing and shaping standards that will directly affect the industry and ultimately your organisation. Under the new leadership and direction of our team, I am sure you will see a difference in the way we listen to members and how proactive we will be in moving the industry forward for the benefit of BSIA members and the industry.”

Alton Nutile, Head of Commercial at Dardan Security writes:

Q5. With whom do you think the responsibility lies in changing the security industry’s challenges over low pay rates?

MR: “I believe this is a collective responsibility across all companies and associations that operate within the professional security industry. I also believe the industry needs to continue to invest in their employees to ensure they are appropriately trained and educated to be able to provide a high quality of service to the end user and employee pay rates will need to reflect that. To enable us to achieve this as an industry we need to better articulate why attractive pay rates yield a better return on investment for buyers. This will ensure that end users clearly recognise the investment made by professional security companies (BSIA, SIA and ACS members) and therefore the need for them to pay the appropriate labour rates that ensures a professional, reliable and high-quality service is delivered. It would be interesting to see if the mandatory ACS requirement in Scotland for all public sector contracts has led to an increase in pay/charge rates and if so potentially look at pursuing that avenue with our parliament.”

Amanda McCloskey, Sales & Marketing Director at CIS Security writes:

Q6. Does the BSIA set aside time to brainstorm/future proof with regard to new technology such as in the areas of intel sharing, artificial intelligence or robotics?

MR: “Through its various industry sections the BSIA holds regular meetings that enables its participating members to review technology developments and how they may impact the current and future of the professional security industry, end users and its members. A great example of this is the recent release of the ‘Cyber Secure It’ Document that was produced by the CySPAG (Cyber Security Product Assurance Group) which is made up of members of the BSIA. This document provides a summary of guidelines and standards on minimising exposure to digital sabotage of network-connected equipment, software and systems used in electronic security.”

David Barber, Operations Director at Askari Security writes:

“In Hampshire, there are several small security companies providing manpower (Manned Guarding, Door Supervision and Mobile Patrols) to larger security companies as subcontractors. This, on the face of it, is great for small businesses as they get a “share” of the work. However, these small businesses who subcontract do not adhere to the same rules as an ACS/SIA company. We have come across the following;

a. Staff not being vetted in accordance with BS7858
b. Company not having any insurance in place
c. Staff being paid as “contractors” who do not hold a UTR number.

There is a massive cost to small security businesses to be a part of the ACS scheme, however, those who follow the rules are losing out on contracts as we can’t compete with the charge rates and/or the pay rates of these companies who are not SIA accredited.

With the above in mind, my questions are as follows:

Q7. What do you think is the SIA’s responsibility in ensuring and monitoring fair competitive trade within the Security Industry?

MR: “The BSIA proactively works with its members to ensure that all their employees are vetted and trained to the appropriate level and standards. Clearly this is a significant investment by those companies and that cost needs to be transferred into the labour rates it charges its clients. Member companies need to be able to clearly identify the benefits of choosing a BSIA and SIA compliant company as this demonstrates it has vetted and trained employees who are capable of delivering the high quality of service that will meet the customers’ needs.”

Q8. How are larger security companies able to use subcontracting staff/companies who are not ACS accredited?

MR: “Any security company regardless of size who are members of the ACS should be ensuring that any subcontractor they appoint is meeting the same quality and professional standards that they operate by. It is a key part of being an Approved Contractor that you carry out due diligence on a sub-contractor and ONLY use an ACS registered company in any form of sub- contract work.”

Q9. How are larger security companies able to use subcontracting staff/companies who do not vet their staff?

MR: “As previously said, I believe it is the responsibility of those companies to ensure that any subcontractor they appoint has undertaken the appropriate level of vetting that is equal to what they do for their own employees. Regardless of size, any security company who is a registered Approved Contractor should only be using other Approved Contractors to sub out work. Section 2.4.1 of the ACS clearly sets out the standards that are required when sub-contracting.”

Q10. How are larger security companies able to use subcontracting staff/companies who are not paying VAT and pensions?

MR: “As you will be aware, VAT qualification is related to the turnover of a company and is something governed by the HMRC and as such not something that can be influenced by an external organisation. There are also clear government rules in place about a company’s obligation to provide employees with a company pension which should address this issue. Having said that, the governing bodies and associations are working closely with the HMRC to tackle tax evasion and avoidance in our industry. I also believe these factors are something worth checking by any company before they appoint a subcontractor.”

Q11. How are smaller security companies able to provide SIA licenced staff but do not comply with the ACS/SIA regulations?

MR: “If a company is ACS registered they should not subcontract to a non-ACS registered company unless a specific exemption has been sought from the SIA. Also, companies who are members of the BSIA, SIA and ACS should actively promote the advantages and benefits of choosing a member company giving the customer confidence that they will receive a quality and reliable service with appropriately vetted and trained employees.”