The SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), which has over 700 participants, has now passed its fifth year of operation. The scheme also received backing from the Government last week during the debate in the House of Lords during the reading of the Public Bodies Bill.
The Minister of State of the Home Office, Baroness Neville-Jones commented; “….The SIA has done something else important, which is to raise standards through the voluntary approved contractor scheme that allows companies to demonstrate that they meet a wide range of standards and are therefore worthy of being accredited as approved providers of security industry services. That is also something that will continue. More than 650 companies employing about two-thirds of the industry now have the ACS standard. That is a record of achievement and I pay tribute to it…”
The scheme continues to grow, and in the past year 137 approval decisions have been made. The SIA is receiving approximately 15 requests for new applications each month.
Around 125,000 licensed operatives work for approved contractors, with ACS-employed operatives making up an estimated 70% of those working in the industry.
Andrew Shephard, Assistant Director Approved Contractor Scheme said: “During the past five years the scheme has enjoyed a steady rise in applicant numbers. The current figures show that companies continue to see the scheme as a valuable asset both in their operational and marketing activities.
“Looking forward, we anticipate the scheme will continue operating as it does today for around another two years. ACS is then expected to evolve and continue as an approval scheme for the industry, building on the successes of the scheme so far, so that security suppliers can continue to show that they meet these quality standards.”
The more companies that meet the ACS requirements, the more standards are raised within the private security industry. At February 2011, more than 700 suppliers held ACS status.
The ACS membership by organisation size is: Micro 185, small 209, medium 253, large 60. Approvals by sector are: Security guarding 642, key holding 279, door supervision 185, public space surveillance CCTV 113, close protection 27, cash and valuables in transit 14, vehicle immobilisation 10. (The figures will equal more than 700 because a company can operate and become approved in more than one sector.)
In October 2010, the Government announced a “phased transition to a new regulatory regime” for the private security industry. The SIA is currently working with the Government and security industry to plan how private security in the UK will be regulated in the future. The new regulation will build on the successes of SIA licensing and the Approved Contractor Scheme. There will be no major changes to SIA regulation or the ACS before the London Olympics 2012.