Essential information for the private security industry
February 2019
February has been a busy month, and in this edition of our newsletter we feature the results of our recent skills and qualifications consultation. We are also sharing, as a reminder, the required standards of behaviour for security operatives set out in the licence-linked training.
Our SIA news section includes a short summary on the updated version of ‘Get Licensed’. It outlines the latest updates to the ‘training and qualifications’ segment.
We commissioned an independent survey to find out how you have found using our licensing system; read a summary of the feedback we received. We have also signposted an update on the new IT supplier for our licensing system.
In our public protection section, we are encouraging security businesses to enrol their staff on the free Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) counter-terrorism e-Learning. On the same theme, we are signposting the upcoming Police Scotland ACT counter-terrorism events, some of which will be taking place in a new format.
This month’s enforcement update encourages you to report any crime you are aware may be taking place in the private security industry or any concerns you have.
Our ‘licensing matters’ section features an ‘explaining the licensing process’ article. This month’s edition is intended to help you to understand your ‘Next Steps’ instructions.
Finally, we have an event on 12 March to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), radicalisation and extremism coming up in West Sussex which you can register for.



SIA News 

Results of our skills and qualifications consultation

This month we concluded the second consultation on our skills and qualifications reviews. We would like to thank everyone who took part. There were over 4,300 responses on the proposed specifications for our nine licence-linked qualifications.
We really appreciate your feedback, and we are now analysing your contributions and incorporating them into the final version of the specifications. The revised specifications will be available on our website later this year; we will notify you when they are available.
Unlike our previous skills and qualifications reviews, this one has considered how we can:
  • Help the private security industry to create a structure of learning and development beyond that which is required by SIA licensing (for example, through apprenticeships and continuing professional development);
  • Improve quality assurance in the training process, and so combat training malpractice.
Our skills and qualifications review is firmly geared to raising standards in the industry and developing a skills strategy that goes beyond the ‘must do’ of the licence-linked qualification. By doing this we can facilitate and support real change across the industry. In the coming months, we plan to work with stakeholders and industry bodies to allow security operatives to demonstrate their professionalism and further improve quality standards across the industry.

For example, we are investigating how we might develop apprenticeships, and also looking into a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) approach. This would enable security operatives to gain accredited qualifications, and be recognised for their skills, beyond the minimum required for a licence.
Our role will be to enable and facilitate professional development, helping to develop career pathways to attract the right people. We are in the early stages of developing professional frameworks with, amongst others, the Security Institute and Skills for Security.

Standards of behaviour for security operatives

SIA licence holders hold an important position of responsibility and trust. We are taking this opportunity to remind security operatives of the required standards of behaviour set out in their training.

Security operatives should conduct all aspects of their work in a responsible and professional manner.

We recommend that licence holders re-read the ‘Standards of Behaviour for Security Operatives’ provided during their training. It is available on our website. This guidance will support security operatives to deliver the high standards required of them as professionals. All operatives should have a good understanding of the contents of this guidance.
The guidance covers:
  • Professional appearance
  • Professional attitude and skills
  • General conduct
  • Organisation/ company values and standards
We may consider taking action against any licence holder who falls below these standards. 

We are developing our criteria to include a code of conduct for security operatives, which we will be consulting on later this year.

You can keep an eye out for updates on the code of conduct by checking our website here.
Re-read the ‘Standards of Behaviour for Security Operatives’ online

Updated version of ‘Get Licensed’

On 22 February 2019, we published a new version of Get Licensed. This new version clarifies and updates parts of the ‘training and qualifications’ chapter in section 2 of the publication. Some of the updates include:

1.    The names of awarding organisations have been updated to reflect what these bodies call themselves.
2.    The section on first aid awards for the close protection licence has been updated to reflect changes in the qualifications available.
3.    The chart showing the different units for each qualification has also been updated to make the chart more precise and clear.

We shared a previous update with you in March 2018 describing more significant changes to ‘Get Licensed’. You can see a summary of these changes in a previous newsletter.
Download the updated Get Licensed (PDF, download size: 600 kb)

Pre-approval interviews to join our Approved Contractor Scheme

If you are considering applying to join our Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) we have streamlined and clarified the process and it will now include a ‘pre-approval interview’ with a member of one of our teams.
This is likely to be a pre-arranged 'phone interview but may be conducted in person with the controlling mind(s) of the business by a member of our team.

The outcome of this ‘pre-approval interview’ will help to inform our assessment of the business’s compliance with our ‘fit and proper’ conditions and identify whether there are additional ACS assessment needs.
As of 1 April the new ACS Standard will be launched. We have written to all approved contractors to encourage them to ensure that their businesses conform to the new standard. 
On 8 March 2019, our ACS Achievement Record portal on our website will be reconfigured so that it conforms to the new standard. Any approved contractors who plan to submit their scores via the Achievement Record will need to be aware that we will be working on it.

Customer insight survey

An independent survey that we commissioned has found that more than three quarters of customers are satisfied with the licence application process. The same survey found that almost 90 per cent of individual licence applicants are favourable to the SIA as an organisation.
We commissioned IFF Research to measure customer satisfaction of the online licensing service, which was introduced in July 2016. The survey, which took place from May to July of 2018, covered both employers and individual licence applicants. The aim of the survey was to evaluate the customer experience with a view to improving the service.

Jackie Munn, our Head of Customer Support, said:

"We are committed to listening to our customers and acting on their concerns. We are delighted that a majority of our customers view the SIA positively, and that they are happy with our online licensing process. However, we acknowledge that not all customers are satisfied, and are working hard to ensure that applicants who fit the criteria receive an SIA licence in a timely fashion."

The survey also found that there has been a significant rise in satisfaction from employers since the previous survey, which took place in 2017. Businesses were on average 57 per cent more satisfied with the application process than in the previous year, and 23 per cent more favourable towards the SIA as an organisation.

Jackie Munn, also, said:

"These improved levels of customer satisfaction from businesses are very welcome. They are the result of a lot of hard work within the SIA, not least from our Customer Support team. We have looked carefully at the way that we engage with all our customers, and have tailored our processes to serve them better. We would urge all our customers, whether employers or individuals, to register for an SIA online account. This is the quickest and easiest channel through which to obtain effective support from us. We know that those who are already registered are finding the service invaluable."

The survey began interviews with 1,000 individuals and businesses who had applied for an SIA licence during the two months to 4 April 2018. This was followed up by in-depth interviews.

The findings correspond almost exactly with our quarterly customer satisfaction survey. This consists of feedback collected from licence applicants who have just used our online application service. An average of 76.4 per cent of applicants rated the service as "very good" or "good" from 1 April 2018.

We have committed to another independent customer satisfaction survey, which will start in early summer 2019. You can download the results of the survey from our website.

Download the summary of our customer insight survey (Download PDF, 2.12 MB)

New supplier for our online licensing system

We have awarded a major digital services contract to Version 1.  The IT service provider will take over support for our online licensing system, in May 2019.
Version 1, which was established over 20 years ago, specialises in digital and Cloud services. It has a 1200 strong team with offices in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and India.
John Neil, the project executive in charge of the re-procurement process at the SIA, said:
“It is crucial for the SIA that we provide a dependable, consistent, and high-calibre service to the private security industry.  We were impressed by the quality and competitive value offered by Version 1, and also by their understanding of our business and our requirements. Our focus is on service continuity and the avoidance of unnecessary risk, and we will therefore go live with the new service when we are entirely satisfied that it is fit for purpose.”

Our contract with BT, the original supplier of our online licensing system, is coming to an end on 26 May 2019.  The tender for a replacement supplier was sent out to eligible providers using a Crown Commercial Service framework on 14 June last year. The new service will conform to UK Government and Home Office IT strategies.

Conor McColgan, the Head of UK Public Sector at Version 1, said:

"We are delighted that Version 1 has been awarded this contract to partner with the Security Industry Authority in the provision of an excellent and reliable service to the private security industry. This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to investing in Digital Government excellence and growth across the UK public sector.  We look forward to working closely with the SIA to bring our IT skills and experience to the organisation throughout the duration of the project."

There will be no changes to our core system, which means no changes from a user perspective. The new contractor will provide the current service, although they will have a brief to modernise and improve our online licensing system over time.

We are committed to providing an efficient and easy-to-use online licensing service, and we look forward to working with Version 1 to take the system forward.


Counter-terrorism e-Learning

ACT Awareness training provides nationally approved, corporate counter-terrorism guidance to help the private security industry better understand, and mitigate against the current terrorist methodology. It is an online package available via the National Counter Terrorism and Security Office website, and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
We want to encourage all security businesses to register their security operatives for the ACT Awareness online package, or an equivalent standard of counter-terrorism training. Given the nature of the roles performed by security operatives, it is an important part of professional development and public protection.
Get more information on the online training

Police Scotland ACT counter-terrorism events (new format)

In partnership with Police Scotland, we are inviting security operatives to a ‘You Can ACT’ counter-terrorism awareness event. Each awareness-raising session is based on the nationally agreed corporate counter-terrorism guidance to help individuals understand, and guard against, current terrorist methods. These events have been running since last year and have proved very popular, with very positive feedback.
The training will provide you with a greater awareness of counter-terrorism issues, including current threats. It will also give you an understanding of the important role you play in preventing terrorist attacks as well as an increased confidence in your own abilities. Shared knowledge, best practice and procedures will also be looked at and we want to encourage those who attend to contribute to this.
The ‘You Can ACT’ sessions are FREE and specifically aimed at front-line security staff. You will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of the event.
There are 2 formats for the upcoming events:
  1. Modular 2 hour session
  2. Standard 3 hour session
Modular sessions
These sessions have a pre-course interactive e-learning session. This is done at home before the event and takes about 45 minutes. This is then followed by a standard classroom session with other security professionals.
Standard sessions
Each standard session includes an outline of the counter-terrorism context and sharing points of best practice. There is then a set of table top exercises based around realistic terror attack scenarios including an immersion exercise that will develop your knowledge, skills and decision-making in a safe learning environment.
Edinburgh - 12 March 2019 (Modular)
Refreshments will be served at 17:30 for a prompt 18:00 start. The event is set to end at 20:00.
Peterhead - 20 March 2019
Refreshments will be served at 17:30 for a prompt 18:00 start. The event is set to end at 21:00.
We also have events at the following locations on these dates:
Dumfries - 23 April 2019
Dunfermline - 7 May 2019
Aberdeen - 14 May 2019
If you or your colleagues would like to attend, please complete the registration form on our website.
Click here to register for the upcoming ACT event
Enforcement Update

Report a crime or concern

Reducing criminality and wrongdoing in the private security industry is a big part of why we exist. The information you give us has a real impact on how effective we are. We may use it to direct our enforcement activity, to support our licensing decisions or as evidence in a prosecution. We may also forward your report to the police, UK Border Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and others, and they may also take action.
If you see or hear about someone in the private security industry committing a crime or you are concerned, we want to know about it.
Please report it via our corporate website or anonymously by phone calling Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111
Please provide as much detail as possible.

Report a crime or concern via our website
Licensing Matters

Explaining the licensing process

Your Next Steps Instructions

When you submit your licence application we give you instructions on what to do next. These instructions are displayed on screen and are also sent to you as an email and as a message to your online account. Please read these instructions carefully. If you don’t do everything we ask of you, your application will be delayed and may even be cancelled.
Your ‘Next Steps’ instructions may ask you to do any of the following:
  • visit the post office
  • send identity documents to us
  • pay at the post office or online
  • send us evidence of a criminal record check from overseas
  • fill in and return a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure form
  • send us a photograph of yourself and a completed counter-signatory form
The instructions we give will vary from person to person, so please don’t worry if we ask you to do something and you know other licence applicants who were asked to do something else.
As well as the next steps instructions, we may also send you further information requests. These requests will be sent to your online account, so you should keep an eye on your ‘My Messages’ tab. We won’t be able to process your application until you provide the information we asked for.
See an example of a 'Next Steps' message
Upcoming events

Child Sexual Exploitation and PREVENT Awareness Raising Event

We are hosting an event to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), radicalisation and extremism.
This two hour session is for anyone working in the private security industry who may come into contact with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults.
We will be holding two events in Horley, West Sussex on Tuesday 12 March:
Morning event: 10:00 to 12:00 midday
Evening event: 14:00 to 16:00
Location: Horley Fire Station, 97 Povey Cross Road, Horley, RH6 0AE
The session aims to help attendees:
  • Increase your understanding of online safety, CSE and radicalisation
  • Raise awareness of safe online behaviours
  • Understand the forms of exploitation (both CSE and radicalisation)
  • Recognise the exploitation warning signs, vulnerability and risk
  • Connect the CSE and the Prevent Agenda
  • Connect CSE and PREVENT with young people going missing and trafficking
Register for details on our CSE and PREVENT awareness event

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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