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SIA Update, Conference Special

Welcome to this special edition of SIA Update, which focuses specifically on the 'Standards, Professionalism, Accountability' conference that was held on 1 November 2012. We hope you find it informative and useful.

CONFERENCE NEWS
Minister's Opening Address
Thoughts from our Chairman
Morning Presentations
Afternoon Presentations
Q&A with the SIA Board
Final Word from our Chief Executive
Video Interviews
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Conference News
Minister's Opening Address
Image shows a photograph of Lord Taylor of Holbeach This year's Security Industry Authority conference was chaired by Robin Dahlberg, Vice-Chair of the SIA Board, who welcomed delegates to the London venue.

The event opened with an address from Lord Taylor of Holbeach (pictured left), parliamentary under secretary for criminal information and the Minister responsible for the SIA. His speech outlined the Government's intentions for future regulation of the private security industry and its four key aims:
  • greater transparency and accountability for the industry in how it is regulated;
  • de-regulation, so that businesses aren’t over burdened by red-tape;
  • lower the cost and burden of regulation on the industry and achieve better value for money;
  • continue to raise standards, combat criminality within the industry and keep the public safe.
He told delegates that:

"The industry has developed significantly. It is exactly because of these improvements in how the industry operates, that the Government believes the time is right to give the industry a greater say in how it is regulated, as well as to give businesses more responsibility for the individuals they employ."

Read the complete speech - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 25kb)
 
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Thoughts from our Chairman
Photograph of Ruth Henig The audience then heard from SIA Chairman Baroness Ruth Henig, who spoke about some of the changes that have happened since she was appointed in 2007.

She referred to some of the SIA's past issues but also highlighted some of its successes, mentioning improvements in our licensing processes and this year's reduction in the licensing fee. She also identified opportunities for the future, such as business licensing and the possible regulation of private investigators. She told delegates:

"There is still a lot to be done, but we can be proud of what has been achieved thus far by sensible and proportionate regulation."

Read the complete speech - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 26kb)
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Morning Presentations
Stephen McCormick, SIA Director of Service Delivery, gave a presentation on the improvements the SIA is making to the way it works. He explained how these changes enable the SIA to deliver a faster, more accurate, simpler and cheaper service. He said that in 2009 fewer than 5% of applications were processed within a week of receipt; that figure is now 25%. This is partly because 1 in 5 applications are not submitted on paper - in fact, between 1 April and 31 October the SIA processed 14,000 applications through the telephone service. He went on to identify several new initiatives that will build on these successes, such as electronic address checking and an online renewals service.

John Montague, SIA Assistant Director of Compliance and Investigation, gave a presentation entitled 'Effective Enforcement'. In it, he outlined the role of the Compliance and Investigation team, explaining what they do and how they do it. He explained that the team is primarily directed in its activity by the intelligence it receives, though it sometimes conducts random checks to test compliance levels. In the 2011-12 financial year, the compliance and investigation team was responsible for 445 compliance cases, issued 373 warnings and 43 improvement notices, and took 57 cases forward to prosecution.

Chris Jones, Head of the Olympic Protect Programme at the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, spoke about security at the 2012 Olympic Games and the lessons learned. He said that integration between security and the wider Games was a key challenge, and the level of security that was put into place had to be proportionate to the risks involved. The strategy was based on existing counter-terrorism programmes, with multiple agencies working together to share information.

View Stephen's presentation - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 356kb)

View John's presentation - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 287kb)
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Afternoon Presentations
Mike Bluestone, Chairman of the Security Institute, gave a presentation entitled 'Professionalisation of the Security Sector... the Reality'. In it he set out a view of what needs to happen in order for private security personnel to be seen as professionals. He explained that the Security Institute promoted personal development through participation and learning, giving the example of the Diploma in Security Management, awarded by Edexcel. He then went on to discuss the Register of Chartered Security Professionals.

Tony Holyland, SIA Competency Development Manager, then spoke about training malpractice. He explained that in the previous 6 month period the various awarding bodies offering SIA licence-linked qualifications had issued 65,000 qualifications; there were only 45 allegations of malpractice within the same timeframe. So training malpractice isn't rife, but it does occur. Tony explained that the SIA is not a qualifications regulator, but that it can still have a part to play in combating training malpractice. He referred to 'Operation Nevada', in which the SIA worked with awarding bodies, OfQual, London's Metropolitan Police and UKBA in a joint operation that resulted in a number of training providers being shut down.

View Mike's presentation - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 356kb)

View Tony's presentation - this link opens in a new window (PDF, download size: 287kb)
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Q&A with the SIA Board
Several members of the SIA Board then took part in a debate that was facilitated by Jeff Little, NSI Chief Executive. The panel included Linda Sharpe, Eddie Weiss, Robin Dahlberg and Bill Butler.

Understandably, many of the questions were to do with business licensing. The panel confirmed that business licensing will be a 'fit and proper' test only: unlike the Approved Contractor Scheme, it will not tell prospective buyers how competent the company is as a security supplier. This is why a hallmarked accreditation scheme will also be maintained.

Bill commented that the SIA needed to find a balance that enabled effective regulation but which did not over-burden small businesses with too much regulation. He advocated a risk-based approach, and said that the impact of a small business going wrong was less than that of a large business going wrong.

The panel also explained that one of the objectives for business licensing will be to prevent companies from avoiding their tax and National Insurance liabilities. Bill said that "The first thing people will notice about business licensing is that we will be working with HMRC". He also suggested that business licensing would require companies to take out an appropriate level of insurance.

The panel was asked whether there was any way the SIA could increase wages of private security workers - for example, by setting a minimum wage for the industry. Robin was very clear that the SIA cannot set a minimum wage; that must be done by Parliament.

Read about the SIA Board
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Final Word from our Chief Executive
Photograph of Bill Butler SIA Chief Executive Bill Butler closed the conference by thanking all of the speakers and reflecting on the day's key messages.

Bill told delegates that the SIA spent a lot of time working with its stakeholders to "make the regulator about the industry". He reiterated a commitment to regulation delivered more quickly and cost-effectively, and said that the SIA's focus on enforcement was the result of listening to feedback from the industry.

Bill stated that, as a regulator, the SIA sets minimum standards for compliance; it is up to the private security industry to raise standards through training and development. He ended by saying that "real progress had been made" and he encouraged the industry to pick up the challenge as it moved to a new regulatory regime.
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Video Interviews
Video interviews with the main speakers from the conference are available to watch on our Facebook page.

Watch the videos - this link opens in a new window
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Disclaimer
All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the information contained in this communication is accurate at time of release.
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