The SIA ACS Review

Notes from the SIA Website;

The SIA ACS Review

The Approved Contractor Scheme is reviewed periodically to ensure that it:

  1. continues to serve the needs of security suppliers and buyers, and
  2. identifies any ways in which the Scheme may be improved.

Previously these reviews were undertaken on an annual basis, as specifically required by a Direction from the Secretary of State. This is no longer the case, and a review may be undertaken as and when it is required.

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SIA – Future of Regulation Factsheet

The SIA have produced a factsheet that outlines their latest proposals for the future regulation of the private security industry.

The document outlines the key components of future regulation: a new regulatory body outside government; the licensing of businesses; the registration of individuals who are fit and proper to work in the private security industry; underpinned by effective compliance and enforcement.

Formal proposals will go out to public consultation in 2012 and will be subject to final approval from the Home Office – future regulation in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be subject to decision by the devolved administrations. A separate consultation on the position of future regulation in Northern Ireland will be undertaken by the Department of Justice; the SIA’s draft plan will form part of this consultation.

 Download the factsheet

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SIA Licence and ACS Fees Cut

 

The Security Industry Authority is reducing its charges to individuals and businesses from next month as part of its commitment to driving down costs.

From 1st January 2012 Individual licences for all sectors will be reduced from £245 to £220. The reduction applies to both new applicants and those renewing existing licences. Licence holders applying for a discounted second licence after this date will pay 50% of the new reduced fee.

Annual charges to businesses for membership of the Approved Contractor Scheme will also be reduced from £17 to £15 per employee.

Current fee levels have been held since 2007 and the SIA has been able to reduce the costs further as a result of both Government austerity measures and continuing improvements to working practices. The reductions will save the industry £3m over the coming year.

SIA Chairman Ruth Henig said:

“We are very aware of the challenges faced by both businesses and licensed individuals in this difficult climate.

“We have held current fee levels for four years, and I am very pleased to now announce these reductions in the licence fee and ACS charges. We are committed to driving down costs in the new regime and this is the first step in that process.”

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said:

“The Government has set a clear challenge to all its agencies and other bodies to ensure they are proving the best possible value for money.

“So I have been very impressed to hear how the SIA has been working to improve its practices and processes to ensure that they are as efficient as possible. The reduction in these fees will no doubt be welcomed by the 360 thousand people who hold a valid licence and the businesses that employ them.”

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Changes to the SIA ACS Self Assessment Workbook

For most approved contractors the first step to gaining approval is a self-assessment excercise using the ACS Self Assessment Workbook. Contractors review and score their business according to this workbook; the independent assessors that subsequently verify these scores work from the same document.

The SIA have recently made some changes to the ACS Self Assessment Workbook. These changes were recommended by the ACS review process, which identifies ways in which the scheme may be improved and ensures that the scheme continues to serve the needs of security suppliers and buyers.

Updated versions of the Self Assessment Workbook and Self Assessment Workbook Guide are available for download from the SIA website.

Visit the SIA Publications section for more info.

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SIA Outlines ‘Commitment to Regulation’ at Conference

The second Security Industry Authority conference of the year was opened and chaired by Dave Humphries, Director of Compliance, Intelligence and Communication, who welcomed delegates to the Sheffield venue. He stressed the importance of industry input as the SIA develops plans for the future of regulation for the private security industry.

The audience then heard from SIA Chairman Baroness Ruth Henig, whose keynote speech outlined the achievements of the SIA far – such as compliance and enforcement activity and excluding unfit individuals from the industry, and the success of the ACS scheme – and gave an overview of intentions for the future.

Baroness Henig told delegates:

“We must ensure that together we build upon previous achievements in regulation, and develop a regime suitable for an evolving industry. We know that regulation needs to change and adapt to remain relevant in years to come. This will mean a lighter touch for compliant businesses and individuals, a lower cost approach, focussed on business licensing with businesses taking primary responsibility for checking and registering their employees, and the industry taking increased responsibility for driving up standards.”

She called upon delegates to share with the SIA what they saw as the priorities, and to work together to ensure adequate and appropriate regulation for the future.

This was reinforced by Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone, who in a video message said that the conference presented “a fantastic opportunity for you, the members of the private security industry, to come together to discuss the challenges, and contribute to the shaping of, the future of, your industry.” She said:

“There are important developments occurring within the private security sector. The Government hopes that these developments will lead to better regulation of the industry across the UK, ensuring that the private security industry continues to flourish whilst maintaining the high standards it has previously achieved, in helping to secure public protection.”

An overview of plans for the transition was delivered by Hazel Russell, SIA Director of Transition, in her presentation ‘SIA Proposals for the Future’. She explained the key components of future regulation – a new regulatory body outside Government, the licensing of businesses, and a register of individuals fit and proper to work in industry, underpinned by effective compliance and enforcement.

Steve McCormick, SIA Director of Service Delivery, then spoke on ‘Designing Services Fit for the Future’. He said that with future regulation being developed to be business focussed and to achieve reduced burden and cost, there would need to be changes and improvements to service delivery. He described current plans to continue to improve the licensing and customer service, such as website improvements, a better bulk application process, and electronic contact and payment methods.

The morning concluded with two discussion groups on the development of key operational functions. ‘The Approved Contractor Scheme and the Future of the Hallmark’ was chaired by ACS Assistant Director Andrew Shephard and Quality Assurance Manager Jody Parker. They set out plans for approved contractors to automatically qualify for the new business licence, and for the current ACS scheme to continue at least until compulsory business licensing is established. Delegates at the session agreed that the continuation of a hallmark scheme was crucial, in order to differentiate between the quality mark and the compulsory business licence. They called for acknowledgement of ACS membership within business licensing criteria, a continued licence dispensation scheme, and for all public sector contracts to be awarded to ACS contractors.

‘Individual Applications, the Challenge for Employers’, was delivered by Assistant Director of Customer Service and Quality Improvement Christy Hopkins. He explained that individual applications would be primarily the responsibility of businesses, with applications submitted through an employer or ‘Mediated Access Partner’, being e-enabled to ensure reduced burden and duplication. Applications would be only for new entrants, with no renewals rather a regular subscription, and a revocation and suspension process would remain in place, he said. In feedback, delegates stressed the importance of maintaining public safety through regular criminal record checks. They also said that as plans developed they would want clarification on how the qualifications upload and checking process would work.

The afternoon sessions were commenced by James Kelly of the Security Alliance, who welcomed the strong commitment to regulation that had been shown by the SIA, Government and the industry. He was followed by Alastair Thomas, Home Office CCTV Policy Lead, who spoke about the need for joined-up regulation in the sector and the considerations for CCTV practices in the future. Delegates then heard from Ian Thomas, Head of Integration and Delivery at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, who outlined the expected impact of the Olympics in 2012 and security requirements. Finally, the importance of targeting of serious and organised crime in the private security industry was discussed by Paul Evans from KPMG, former Director of Interventions at the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

In concluding the day, SIA Chief Executive Bill Butler said there would now be a change of pace as in-depth planning of the new regime unfolded. He told delegates:

“It has been so useful to have you together here today to share views and give us your input and feedback.

“I am conscious of the rapid progress and many changes that have been made throughout the past year. But, now that we are in the position of having a clear commitment from Government, and a clear framework for the future of regulation, this will mean a considered pace of change. We will take the time to make sure we get the details right, and that you in the industry have the time to give the necessary input and of course to adapt to the new regulatory regime.”

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Winner of ACS Champion of the Year 2011

Sodexo – Winner of ACS Champion of the Year 2011
20 October 2011

Sodexo was announced as the ACS Champion of the Year 2011 at the Security Excellence Awards held in London last night [19 Oct].

The SIA Approved Contractor Scheme raises standards and promotes good practice for the creation of a safer environment for the public and better opportunities for the private security industry.

As part of the Security Excellence Awards, which are organised by United Business Media and hosted by Security Management Today Online and info4security.com, the ‘ACS Champion of the Year’ award is open to all Approved Contractors and seeks to identify those that have taken exceptional steps to further the spirit of the scheme.

Sodexo, whose head office is based in London, first achieved approved contractor status in May 2008. It is currently approved by the SIA for security guarding and CCTV.

The judges were very impressed with the extent that Sodexo promoted and progressed the spirit of the ACS, including its staff welfare, development and working conditions, their reward and recognition programme, the use of newsletters, focus groups and enhanced conflict training.

ACS Assistant Director, and an award judge, Andrew Shephard said:

“Sodexo’s active engagement with the SIA, its contribution to the development of the ACS, along with putting local crime prevention and community safety at the top of their agenda demonstrated to the judges that the company are raising their operational standards and are promoting good practice within the industry.”
Simon Pears, head of security at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said:

“I am absolutely delighted with our win last night, which has been possible through the collective efforts, dedication and commitment from the Centre of Excellence team at Sodexo.
We would like to thank the SIA for their effective partnership working with us and we hope to build on this further. We will continue to remain committed towards raising the standards of security everywhere we operate.”

For more information about Sodexo visit their website: www.sodexo.com

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Other sites of interest include:

Security Industry Authority (SIA) Skills For Security City & Guilds