David Dickinson, former British Security Industry Association Chief Executive, who led the security industry through the crucial regulatory transition phase from 2002 to 2006, writes his second column for Infologue.com and gives a personal view of the two annual reports and accounts from the SIA. David writes: “The headline begs the first (and only real) question about these reports – why two at once and why so late in the reporting cycle? The answer is clear from the joint statement by the Chair and the Chief Executive in the 2102/2013 Report. They say “We apologise for the late publication of these accounts. They were originally completed on time in May 2013, but were held by the Accounting Officer pending the completion of an independent investigation into allegations made by to the Home Office. The investigation has been completed and the report has concluded that there was no impropriety and made a number of recommendations which the Board has accepted and which have been addressed”. It is understood that these allegations arose internally within the SIA and not from the industry or other interested parties.
“The delay in publishing the report means that a warm and fitting tribute to former SIA Chair, Baroness Ruth Henig was also delayed. Her many friends will be pleased to see that “Ruth’s contribution to the SIA and her work with the industry (my italics!) has been considerable. She has driven and supported the necessary improvements in the service that the SIA provides, has worked to understand and support the development of a respected and professional industry and provided leadership and support to SIA staff (including both of us). We owe Ruth a great debt of gratitude for her commitment and significant achievements during her time at the SIA and hope that she will continue to play a role in the development of the industry”.
“Beyond that, the tone is very much business as usual, with numbers of licensed personnel staying roughly in line with recent history, (around 380,000) but with quite significant cyclical variations in the number of licences issued or renewed. What is not clear is how many first-time applications were processed within the total figure which is a pity since this would have been a useful guide to overall labour turnover. Interestingly, the enforcement team have “found compliance levels of 98%” whilst working with a wide variety of partners and including supporting “significant operations against organised crime”. On the same theme, successful prosecutions were taken against 18 businesses or individuals.
“Looking to the future, the Report makes reference to the postponement, by the Government, of the business licensing scheme, which scheme, later in the Report is regards as “an important and necessary reform of the regulatory regime” and hopes “that the position can be resolved as soon as possible to allow the industry the certainty it requires”. Amen to that!!
“The SIA leaders have made their position clear – in an election year, there is the opportunity for everyone who cares about this vital issue to closely question all the parliamentary candidates in their home constituencies and make clear that this is a matter deserving of the utmost attention once Parliament commences its’ new term.”
David is a security industry specialist managing a relatively orderly transition during the implementation of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and established the BSIA as a trusted partner of the SIA. Introduced the ‘Safercash’ initiative (with the fullest cooperation of the CVIT industry) and changed perceptions of the nature of CVIT crime with both senior police officers and Home Office Ministers resulting in important changes in police response and support. David’s career highlights includes:
1988 – 2000 Director, Group 4 Total Security Ltd. Initially as Sales and Marketing Director and then with additional responsibilities as media spokesman and with operational responsibility for special (ie ‘sensitive’ assignments such as Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference (Edinburgh) European Summit (Cardiff) and GB Summit (Birmingham) and from 1996, the annual Labour Party Conference. From the same year, Full operational responsibility for all Immigration Service contracts
2000 – 2002 Director and General Manager of Immigration Services, Global Solutions Ltd (Group 4 subsidiary).
April 2002 – December 2008 Chief Executive of British Security Industry Association. Managed relationships with Government ministers, civil service, The SIA and the police service and provided expanded services to BSIA member companies.