Issue 2: Equal representation on the SIA Board

At present, the SIA’s Board does not include any representation from the security profession. If the Regulator intends to “do regulation with the industry, and not to it” – words that have been spoken many times by SIA employees, not least its chief executive John Saunders – surely it is only right and proper that the industry be represented in the decision-making process? SMT and believe that John Saunders is steadfast in the belief that total commitment is an essential part of the modern Regulator’s ‘toolkit’. That said, external influences – most notably the recent delays on the decision relating to the shape, implementation and costings of the Approved Contractor Scheme – have highlighted the pressing need for industry representation at the highest level. In short, on the SIA Board. If the recommendations of the Hampton review on regulatory inspections and enforcement are accepted, and the SIA is – at some point further down the line – incorporated into the Health and Safety Executive (or perhaps some other Government agency), in the medium term the ‘voice of the security industry’ could well become muted. While the current SIA Board has ably piloted the security sector through a difficult regulatory birth with a good degree of skill and business acumen, we would respectfully suggest that the building of a professional industry requires expertise from within.

The Private Security Authority – the regulatory body set up to administer the Private Security Services Act in Ireland – is a classic example of inclusion. The Authority is totally independent in the exercise of its functions. Its Board consists of representatives of the legal profession, private security employers and employees, the An Garda Siochána (police), relevant Government departments and assorted law enforcement agencies. Even this did not go far enough, and now the Authority has in place specialist committees advising the Board. Barry Brady – executive director of the Irish Security Industry Association – has spoken directly to “As you will appreciate there are so many security disciplines. No one person can understand each fully,” he explained. “It has become a problem in so far as decisions have been made affecting certain sectors that, if proper consultation had been employed, would not have been made, or would otherwise have been amended somewhat. As a result, each sector of the industry now has a representation meeting and briefs the Authority on its concerns. “For instance, we have six Cash-in-Transit firms in Ireland. They will have to pay upwards of 20,000 Euros for a two-year licence, while also ensuring that all employees are fully trained. However, this affects their bottom line, without any visible improvement or potential in the marketplace to compensate.”


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