Private Security Skills & Qualifications Review

03 September 2018


We have begun a wide ranging review of the licence linked qualifications. We have widened the scope of this work to consider not just the mandatory qualifications we require, but how to support the industry to address the skills and knowledge needed by operatives, throughout their careers and across the private security industry. The review will also look to ensure that robust assessment processes exist to ensure the integrity of the qualifications achieved.

Crucial to the success of this project is the engagement of industry and stakeholders. Therefore we are conducting a comprehensive consultation exercise. This will include primary research interviews with hundreds of operatives; and focus groups with businesses and consultation with expert stakeholders. It will be completed by the end of 2019 and the new qualifications will be available in January 2020.

This review includes consideration of any refresher training that we require operatives to undergo. Every five years we review the qualifications to ensure that they are still in line with industry working practice, new risks that might have emerged and technology changes.

Steve McCormick, SIA Director of Operations & Standards says:

​"This is a very important piece of work because we have a statutory responsibility to raise standards in the private security industry. Our aim is to improve the professionalism of security operatives, drive standards in the industry, and help protect the public in the UK.
I believe that we can facilitate the development of a new set of qualifications to raise standards over time. We will also help to better define career paths and opportunities for those joining the workforce. This will assist the industry to improve the standards of service delivery, and help with recruitment and retention."

Steve McCormick explained that the project has a number of key milestones that will need to be delivered before the new qualifications become available in January 2020. These are:

  • Development of qualifications specifications
  • Research and consultation into the private security industry characteristics, working methods and emerging/future trends
  • Development of quality parameters for delivery of training
  • Development of a skills strategy for the industry

Steve McCormick, further explained that:

"In the next few weeks we will be conducting a consultation on the draft specifications for each licensable sector. We will be supporting this with a number of one-to-one interviews with operatives and businesses. We hope as many of you as possible will take part in the consultation.
It’s a fantastic way for those of you working in the industry to contribute and to help to get this right. This is your opportunity to shape the future of the qualifications to ensure they are relevant for your industry in the years ahead."

We are working and consulting with the private security industry in far greater depth this time. It has created Expert Working Groups for each of the specialist areas that it needs to develop content for qualifications.

These groups are made up of top scoring approved contractors, individual businesses and subject specialists. We will be working with them to design the new qualifications and develop quality measures to improve the delivery of training.

A significant change for this review is we are developing a strategic approach in partnership with the private security industry that will drive a broader skills agenda. Here it will be considering career paths, the development of a new apprenticeship framework and continuing professional development. The aim is to create a structure of learning and development in partnership with the private security industry that will help it to become a career of choice.

Since we began licensing more than two million licence-linked qualifications have been awarded. In the last five years around half a million people have taken the most recent version of our qualifications which is as long as they have been in existence for.

This represents a significant investment; as around £20 million is spent on licence-linked qualifications. Which every year, is a significant investment from the industry into individuals - investing in training to get people into the sector. It is therefore vital that the project takes account of all of the different stakeholder needs and makes sure that it is the right sort of qualification for individuals.

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Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001​. Our main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook- this link opens in a new window (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter- this link opens in a new window (SIAuk).​​​​​​​​​​​