The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has today presented their Annual Report and Accounts for 2010/11. Part of the report is a joint statement by the Chairman Ruth Henig and the Chief Executive Bill Butler. Infologue.com believes it contains important analysis and review on the future of the industry and has decided to publish it in full. The statement reads:
“The continuing impact of the economic downturn and the political changes following the General Election meant that 2010/11 was a demanding year for individuals and businesses subject to SIA regulation and for the SIA itself. We are pleased that we have been able to maintain the high standards of service and compliance we have set in recent years, while taking rigorous action financially to enable us to finish the year with a small deficit after the exceptional item. In addition, we have made good progress, working with ministers and the industry, for the phased transition to a new regulatory regime in line with the Government’s proposals. Our framework for the future has been accepted by ministers and we are preparing for the new legislation that the Government intends to bring forward.
“These achievements could not have been made without the significant efforts of our staff and support of the industry. We are extremely grateful to those who have ensured that we have met our objectives. Our performance over the year maintained the high standards that we have now established:
- Over the year, 93% of licence applications were processed in 30 days or less against our target of 80%, with 70% of applicants receiving their licence in 15 days or less.
- Membership of the ACS has now passed 700, and those in the scheme remain satisfied with 98% of members renewing their membership and giving a satisfaction rating of 89% over the year.
- Our enforcement teams have maintained compliance levels of 90%, particularly important given the uncertainties as to the future of regulation during the year, and have worked with other enforcement partners in significant operations to target organised crime. Our work in the Operation Gulf partnership to tackle serious crime in Salford was commended by the Home Secretary.
The standards achieved by the SIA and our contract partners, Liverpool Direct Ltd (LDL), were recognised in March when we received the prestigious Government Standard for Customer Service Excellence.
“We recognise that our income comes directly from the individuals that we license and the members of the ACS and that we have a responsibility to ensure that that money is spent effectively. Because of our three year licensing cycle, our income in 2010/11 was some £10m less than in 2009/10. To ensure that we were able to balance the books and maintain the licence fee at current levels, the SIA put in place measures to reduce its costs and these were complemented by the financial controls introduced by the new government. Significant spending reductions were delivered across the organisation, including reductions in staffing and support costs and the agreement of new contract arrangements with our key suppliers. As a result, we are able to report a small deficit for the year after the exceptional item, reflecting total costs of £29.5m. These represent an average cost to issue a licence of £136 and an operational cost of £109 per active licence. The Government’s Arm’s Length Bodies review reported on 14 October 2010 and proposed that the regulation of the private security industry should no longer be the responsibility of a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and that there should be a phased transition to a new regulatory regime. This announcement caused considerable uncertainty in the industry and amongst those who require a licence and this was exacerbated by an earlier report that had suggested that the SIA regime would be abolished.
“We had already announced at our conference in June 2010 that we wanted to develop a new approach to regulation – our “Change Blueprint”. This proposed greater responsibility for the industry in respect of individuals, supported by a system of compulsory business registration. Following the Government’s announcement, we received strong support from across the industry for the Change Blueprint approach and the continuation of a robust regulatory regime. The devolved governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland expressed strong support for the continuation of effective regulation. Working with the industry and government, we have proposed arrangements for a new regulatory regime which would be the responsibility of a new body, outside the NDPB sector, and which would involve the licensing of private security businesses and the registration of individuals, supported by robust compliance arrangements. The Government accepted these proposals and has asked us to lead the development of detailed proposals with the industry, and has indicated that it will now bring forward legislation in the next Parliamentary session to create the new regime. “
“The willingness of many in the industry, suppliers, buyers and those who use and rely on private security, to work with us to create a new approach to regulation has been a key element in allowing us to develop the Change Blueprint. We are grateful to all those involved and are looking forward to continuing this partnership as we address the Government’s aim to bring forward a new regime by the end of 2013. The year has certainly brought particular challenges to the SIA and we believe that a key measure of an organisation is the ability of its staff to adapt and continue to deliver when such challenges arise. Our team at the SIA has done this extremely ably in 2010/11 and we both look forward to continuing to work with them to deliver effective regulation and a new regime in the next two to three years.”