March's SIA Update with key information
March 2018
This month’s newsletter comes hot off the heels of our Stakeholder conference. We share our special edition conference newsletter below. It includes summaries of each presentation, as well as an overview of the topics of discussion from the workshops.

In our March update, we are supporting the #ActionCountersTerrorism campaign, and want to encourage the private security industry to report any suspicious behaviour and activity.

This month we published an updated version of our ‘Get Licensed’ booklet. It outlines the criteria we use when making decisions on licences.
In this month’s enforcement update we reveal a recent operation our investigators ran to check licences across West Yorkshire. You can also read about the owner of a security company who was found guilty after an unlicensed employee assaulted a customer. We also prosecuted a Wiltshire-based security company director – details below. 
In our ‘Licensing Matters’ section of the newsletter, we explain that we will write to you ahead of time if we think that our decision will be to refuse your application. We also clarify that the fee we charge when you apply for a licence is an application fee.

Finally, we are inviting you to participate in our ‘Protecting Vulnerable People’ safeguarding workshops.

SIA Stakeholder Conference 2018 update

We have produced an SIA Update conference special that summarises the presentations given at our stakeholder conference on Tuesday 13 March.
Read our SIA Update conference newsletter - special edition
Watch the conference speaker highlight videos from this year

Action Counters Terrorism: Report suspicious activity and behaviour to tackle terrorism

We are urging the private security industry to continue to help the police tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting suspicious behaviour and activity. Communities defeat terrorism. With the enduring terrorist threat, it is now more important than ever that everyone play their part in tackling terrorism. Your actions could save lives.
Don’t worry about wasting police time. No call or click will be ignored. What you tell the police is treated in the strictest confidence and is thoroughly researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.
Any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report. Remember, trust your instincts and ACT.
How can I report?
Reporting is quick and easy. You can report in confidence online via a secure form: Alternatively, you can call the police confidentially on 0800 789 321.
All reports are kept confidential and you can report anonymously. In an emergency always call 999.
What should I report?
Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan. You can report suspicious activity or behaviour – anything that seems out of place, unusual or just doesn’t seem to fit in with everyday life.
Find out more about the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) campaign

Customer Service Excellence – 2018 Assessment

We had our annual assessment against the Customer Service Excellence framework recently and the results show a huge improvement on last year.

In March, the Customer Service Excellence assessor carried out what is called a ‘surveillance’ visit.  He met with representatives from various functions across our organisation and spoke extensively to customers, stakeholders and partners. 

The assessment does more than provide a score; it includes observations from the assessor and feedback from customers, staff and stakeholders. All of this provides a rich source of insight from which we can identify where we need to improve and allows us to put together action plans to do so.

Last year the assessor acknowledged the operational position we were in at the time and the results gave us a clear indication of where we needed to focus our efforts to improve customer service.

Following this year’s surveillance visit, we are compliant in 53 out of 57 criteria, a huge improvement. We were assessed against five criteria:
  • Customer Insight. 
  • Culture of the Organisation
  • Information and access. 
  • Delivery
  • Timeliness and quality of service
In addition to the scores, the report includes extensive comments from customers, stakeholders and staff and assessors. Assessor comments include:

“There was no doubt that the SIA,  (after experiencing a challenging year) still viewed gaining a deep understanding of their customers’ needs as imperative to delivering an excellent service to them.”

“Strong forward thinking, dynamic and transformational leaderships had continued to take the SIA forward.”

“The implementation and development of STeP had gone from strength to strength and any initial problems appeared to have been mostly ironed out.”

We will continue to work hard to ensure that we are compliant against all the criteria.

New SIA Board Member

We have a new board member, Ian McKay who joined our Board this month.

Ian has a wealth of knowledge and expertise as he serves as Independent Chair of the Scottish Police Negotiating Board, which considers police officer terms and conditions in Scotland, and chairs the Scottish Police Consultative Forum.

Ian is the owner of consultancy firm, Otherhand Ltd that specialises in high-level facilitation and mediation in Scotland.

Elsewhere, Ian is a Board member at Critiqom Ltd, a leading print and mail services provider and a member of the Scottish Advisory Committee for the telecoms regulator, Ofcom. He also chairs the Business Advisory Board at Stirling University Management School, where he is an Honorary Professor.

Ian was previously the Director of Scottish Affairs for Royal Mail Group in Scotland, and held senior positions with the Educational Institute of Scotland and at Stevenson College Edinburgh. He has been a leading member of the Institute of Directors in Scotland for some years and remains a member of the IoD UK Council. He was previously a longstanding member of the Scottish Council of the CBI and the Executive Committee of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Updated version of Get Licensed has been published

We have published an updated version of the criteria we use when making decisions on licences.  It has been over four years since we last published an update to Get Licensed.  This new version is easier to read and understand.  It also includes updated information on qualifications, and amendments to reflect recent legal changes.
Section 7 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 requires us to publish a document that sets out the criteria we use “in determining whether or not to grant a licence” and in exercising our powers to revoke or modify a licence.  We meet this requirement by publishing Get Licensed
Understanding the criteria in Get Licensed is important for anyone wanting to understand how we make decisions on licence applications and on licences. It’s important that SIA licence holders and private security businesses have a good working knowledge of Get Licensed.  We therefore urge you to read the updated version, and to pass it on to any of your colleagues who have an interest in SIA licensing.
You can read a description of all of the changes to Get Licensed on our website.
(PDF, document size 1 MB)
Download copies of the updated 'Get Licensed' from our website

Do You Buy Security? – The Regulator’s Guide for Buying Private Security

Have you seen our guide to buying private security? This leaflet highlights the importance of buying security based on quality, not just on price. It also warns potential buyers that cut-price security can put a company’s reputation at risk.
The guide looks at the benefits of buying quality security. It also reminds buyers that they can have confidence in the fact that SIA approved contractors have been quality assured to ensure that the services they provide are compliant with the Private Security Industry Act (2001).
It’s designed to raise awareness among buyers, so they can make informed security purchases based on quality.
(PDF, document size 470 KB)
Download the regulator’s guide to buying private security

ACS Review Update

The online survey on the revised ACS Standard and Self-Assessment Workbook is now closed. Thank you to all of you who took part.

We will provide a high-level update on the market testing once all of the feedback has been collated and reviewed.

The revised standard, and any changes to the scheme, will be made available from autumn 2018.

If you are an approved contractor or a company wishing to join the approved contractor scheme, the transition to the new standard will be managed to enable you to prepare for the change. It is likely that you will not be assessed against the new standard until it is implemented in early 2019.

Visit the Pye Tait ACS Review Portal
Enforcement Update

SIA investigators undertake checks across West Yorkshire

Our investigation teams recently conducted random checks of SIA licences across West Yorkshire. During a two-day planned operation in March, our investigation teams checked a total of 211 security operatives.

The spot-checks took place in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Halifax, Huddersfield, Pontefract, Dewsbury, Castleford, Batley and Pudsey.

Investigators visited shopping centres, supermarkets, job centres, courts, hospitals, bus and coach stations, colleges and universities, banks, markets, museums and even a TV studio.

Compliance levels were high overall, with 209 security officers correctly licensed.

Two security operatives were found working without the correct licences: one was an unlicensed security guard and the other a security guard who was working on a CCTV licence. During the operation, our investigators also gave 10 warnings to security operatives for failing to display their licences, or for failing to notify us of change of address.

All security operatives under the Private Security Industry Act (2001) are required to display a licence and notify us of a change in circumstances and not doing so is a criminal offence.

Owner of Elite Door Staff found guilty after unlicensed employee assaulted a customer

On 12 March 2018, Trevor Frater, trading as Elite Door Staff, was found guilty of supplying an unlicensed door supervisor on six occasions in Alford and Louth, in Lincolnshire.

We began investigating Frater in May 2017 when Lincolnshire Police brought the matter to our attention. This was following the conviction of Carl Pettit, a door supervisor who had been working for Elite, for assault and working without an SIA licence.

Our criminal investigation team followed up on the intelligence supplied by Lincolnshire Police, and discovered that Pettit had worked for Frater under contract to a hotel in Alford, Lincolnshire

Pete Easterbrook, our Criminal Investigations Manager said:
"In supplying Carl Pettit as an unlicensed door supervisor, Trevor Frater was entirely reckless and gave no thought whatsoever to the risk he was exposing members of the public to.  Unfortunately, this risk was realised, and resulted in Carl Pettit assaulting a member of the public.  It is my view that those who supply unlicensed security operatives bear equal responsibility when those individuals cause harm, and the seriousness of this matter was reflected in the sentence imposed by the court.

I would like to thank Lincolnshire Police for their assistance in this investigation. The outcome of this case serves as a reminder that similar offending is likely to result in a criminal conviction and the revocation of any SIA licences held."

In July 2017, our investigators requested information concerning Elite Door Staff’s contracts. However, Frater failed to comply. He was then formally interviewed in September 2017 and only gave limited details. As a result, the SIA decided to prosecute Frater.

In mitigation, Frater admitted that he had not checked if Pettit held an SIA licence. He explained that as they had known each other for a number of years, and Pettit had previously produced a licence, he trusted that he was licensed.

Frater was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £4,372 in costs and a victim surcharge of £100.

The court noted that this was, in its view, a serious matter, as the security operative that Frater had supplied had assaulted a member of the public. The court also stressed the importance of security businesses complying with the regulations, and the need for security operatives to be licensed.

Wiltshire-based security company director pleads guilty to working without a licence

On Monday 5 March 2018, Paul McDonald pleaded guilty at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court to working without an SIA licence. In addition his wife Siobhan McDonald, the director of Morsec Holdings Ltd, of Melksham, Wiltshire, pleaded guilty to two offences of providing false information and failing to provide information to us.
  1. Mr. Paul McDonald was fined £300 for working without a licence, a Section 3 under the PSIA (2001) and his costs were £700 and a victim surcharge of £30.
  2. Mrs. Siobhan McDonald was fined £600 for failing to provide information, a Section 19 offence under the PSIA (2001) and her costs were £700 and a victim surcharge of £60.
She also pleaded guilty to Section 22, PSIA 2001, no additional penalty was awarded against her.

This investigation began in February 2017, when Siobhan McDonald submitted an application to become an approved contractor as the named director of Morsec Holdings Ltd.

Following an approval visit and a series of inquiries into the business, and several others linked to it, our investigators came to the conclusion that Paul McDonald was in fact the person directing the company.

Our investigation revealed that Paul McDonald was unlicensed between June and September 2017, despite clearly acting as director of a security company. Siobhan McDonald was asked to provide information to us in connection with the inquiry, but failed to do so despite being given extra time to respond. This is a criminal offence.

Siobhan McDonald was prosecuted after her application to be part of the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) revealed inconsistencies around the structure of several, similarly named companies owned by Paul McDonald: Morsec Holdings Ltd, Morsec Ltd and Morsecurity Ltd.

The application by Morsec Holdings Ltd for ACS approval was withdrawn in September 2017.

Nathan Salmon, SIA’s Criminal Investigations Manager, said:
"In making an application for ACS accreditation in February 2017, Siobhan McDonald provided false information to the SIA regarding the active role of Paul McDonald within Morsec Holdings Ltd in order to gain approval.”

Mr. Salmon went on to say that the purpose of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme is to raise standards and promote good practice to create a safer environment for the public, and better opportunities for the private security industry. Companies who abuse the scheme, or make false statements in an attempt to gain accreditation, undermine those standards.

He said:
"The SIA will robustly investigate the misuse of the ACS. This conviction highlights the fact that security regulation exists in order to protect the public and ensure the effectiveness of security businesses."

We invited both Siobhan McDonald and Paul McDonald to attend a formal interview. Neither attended, and we therefore decided to prosecute them.
Find out about our completed prosecutions
Licensing Matters

Explaining the Licensing Process

Telling You What our Decision Will Be

When you apply for a licence we will decide on whether to grant you a licence or refuse your application. If we think that our decision will be to refuse your application we will write to you before we make that decision. This is so that you have the opportunity to appeal in a way that won’t incur court costs.

When we write to you, we will tell you:

  • What our decision is likely to be
  • The reason we are likely to refuse your application, and
  • What you can do that might lead us to decide that we can grant you a licence

Please read this letter carefully. It will explain exactly what you can send to us that might mean we can grant you a licence.

If we tell you that we are intending to refuse your application because of your criminal record, we can only reconsider our licensing decision. We can’t ignore or re-assess your criminal record. You may feel that you were charged unfairly or given a harsh sentence, but we will not be able to take this into account. We do not act as an appeal court for criminal cases.

This process doesn’t replace your right of appeal through the courts. It is an additional route of appeal that we offer. We write to you before making our decision because we don’t have the legal powers to change our decision once we have made it. We can only change our decision if:

  • We are instructed to do so by the courts as the result of a legal appeal, or;
  • It was found to have been based on information that is factually incorrect
Find out more about the appeals process

The Application Fee

The fee we charge when you apply for a licence is an application fee: when you pay it, you are paying for us to process your application. This is explained on our website.

In practice, this means that the fee is payable whether a licence is granted or refused. This also means that the licence fee is not refundable. For example:

  • If we refuse your application for a licence or are unable to progress your application because of something you do or do not do, you are not entitled to a refund.
  • You are not entitled to a refund if we grant you a licence but then subsequently suspend and/or revoke that licence.
  • You are also not entitled to a refund if we grant you a licence and you subsequently decide you no longer want it. 
    Please read the ‘Information for Applicants’ section of our website before you apply, as it lists and explains the application process and could save you time and money.
Find out how much does a licence cost
Watch our video on making changes to your personal information
Business Matters

Help from HMRC on understanding PAYE

HMRC has produced some digital resources to help you understand PAYE. Their YouTube channel features the following topics: Payroll software and sending reports to HMRC
Watch a recording of the webinars here:

  1. When and how to pay PAYE
  2. How to send your final PAYE submission for the tax year
For more information take a look at HMRC’s e-learning product, 'Becoming an employer' - available now.

The additional HMRC resources include the HMRC’s Small Business Forum. It is for businesses who want additional advice. You can join the Small Business Forum community here.
  • Employers – what’s new for 2018: This webinar will provide an overview of new and changed processes for the 2018-19 tax year. Book here
  • Payrolling benefits in kind – an introduction: Find out how payrolling works, how it saves you time and how to register. Book here
  • Payroll – annual reporting and tasks: This live interactive webinar is designed for Basic PAYE Tool users, covers end of year tasks, the P60 form, your last full-payment submission and preparing for the new tax year. Book here 
  • Payrolling – tax your employee’s benefits through payroll:  In this webinar, you will find out about tax and National Insurance on payrolling expenses and benefits. Book here
Watch this video on the 'basics' for new employers
Upcoming Events

Protecting Vulnerable People Safeguarding workshop

Date:              Friday 20 April
Time:             13.00 – 16.00
Location:       Desborough Suite, Town Hall,
                       Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead  SL6 1RP
Book your place here

Security Twenty 18

The conference will bring together top security industry speakers and will include an exhibition.

Date:          Tuesday 1 May
Location:   Hilton Hotel, Glasgow

Find out more about the conference

Security Events Website

Find out key information about events that may be of interest to the security industry by visiting the All Security Events website.
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