Security – Are you asking the right questions?
On a daily basis throughout the country, clients pass over the keys to buildings, alarm codes, door codes and security passwords to their security providers, cleaners, staff and contractors.
Even at an initial introductory meeting with, what is essentially a ‘stranger’, clients are willing to share all manner of sensitive information about the vulnerability of a building without a thought about the legitimacy of the person they are meeting.
Trust is essential in this industry but clients should be asking many more questions about potential suppliers before they hand over the keys.
“Does your company have an SIA Licence?” – An irrelevant question!
As a company, we are rarely asked about SIA licences or the ACS accreditation. When the subject is raised, the question is usually “Does your company have an SIA Licence?” – This is an irrelevant question as there is no such thing as SIA licensed companies.
The SIA licence is for individuals who work in the security industry. The main quality accreditation for the security industry is Approved Contractor Status (ACS) through the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
A formal tender process is usually where the most appropriate questions are raised, when clients want to know about training, recruitment, screening, continuity of service and added value. This gives a quality provider the opportunity to really demonstrate what they can offer as part of their service delivery.
Five questions clients should ask their security provider before signing a contract
Do you hold Approved Contractor Status?
Although this isn’t a legal requirement, ACS companies are audited to a set of criteria which evidences that they have processes and procedures to ensure continuity of the service they deliver, including insurances and appropriate management. Take a look at this PDF Booklet about the benefits of using an Approved Contractor.
Are your employees vetted and screened to BS7858?
BS7858 is the British Standard which lays out the Code of Practice for Security Vetting of Individuals Employed in a Security Environment. Some companies complete this process ‘in house’ but many ‘outsource’ this to specialist companies.
How do you monitor the SIA Licence status of your employees?
It is against the law to deploy an individual in a security role if they do not hold a Licence issued by the Security Industry Authority. Licenses have to be renewed every 3 years and the licence can be revoked by the SIA for various reasons. Employers should monitor the licence status of all of their employees on a regular basis to ensure that their licence is still valid. The SIA website has a specific function to speed up this process.
How do you evidence service delivery and ensure that all duties are completed?
The answer to this question will depend on the contract that you are negotiating and what you expect your security team to be doing. Often, the security team will work anti-social hours when the building is not functional so you need to be confident that they are undertaking the specified duties. Your security provider should be able to provide regular and clear evidence to support their duties and there is a lot of software on the market to help with this. We recommend GuardTools
Are your employees PAYE or Self Employed?
It is not essential that your security provider only uses PAYE employed labour. However, it is important to know that, if your provider uses Self Employed labour they should be vetted, screened and trained to exactly the same standards as their PAYE staff.
There has been a pattern of behaviour in the industry where companies are employing Self-Employed labour to bypass rules and regulations and reduce costs. Self-Employed labour is not subject to Employer National Insurance Contributions, Holiday Pay, Statutory Sick Pay or Maternity / Paternity Pay.
If Self-Employed labour is used, it is also important to ensure that they are covered by your security provider’s insurance policies.