Security: SIA accredits contractors

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Related tags: Security

Safeguarding people and premises should be top of the agenda for the pub industry, but sadly the procurement of private security services is too...

Safeguarding people and premises should be top of the agenda for the pub industry, but sadly the procurement of private security services is too frequently treated as an incidental commodity purchase, based on price rather than quality.

Today, security should be viewed as a business-critical service that is valued as highly as communications and data security. Pubs and bars should seek to forge a more responsible and professional relationship with their security supplier and it is of paramount importance that security requirements and contingency plans are agreed and negotiated in a co-operative rather than competitive relationship.

In the drive for consistently higher standards the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has now introduced the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), a voluntary accreditation scheme that aims to become a hallmark of quality for security providers that are able to demonstrate high standards and industry best practice.

The ACS accreditation marque will enable buyers of private security services to distinguish between potential suppliers quickly, accurately and objectively. It will provide assurance that a security firm has met a clearly defined and independently assessed set of quality standards throughout their business.

As a result, pubs and bars can be confident that the quality of service they receive and the capabilities of the people deployed under contract meet the highest industry standards.

The ACS standard encompasses all aspects of business operations. It takes a holistic view of how well an organisation is managed, how effectively it services its customers and how well it treats its employees. To achieve Approved Contractor status companies must demonstrate to an independent assessor that they have met a series of requirements covering a range of business and management indicators.

By choosing an ACS-accredited supplier you can be confident you are meeting your security obligations. Approved Contractors have been assessed in respect of quality and best practice for areas including recruitment, training and compliance with employment legislation.

You can also expect Approved Contractors to have effective customer-focused procedures to overcome any issues that arise in service delivery. The ACS standard encourages companies to customise their service to clients rather than just offer off-the-shelf packages, helping to ensure that the services delivered more closely reflect precise requirements.

The voluntary nature of the scheme will also mean that Approved Contractors will be highly responsive to change and swift to adopt new methods and best practices.

Approved contractor status is acknowledged by the police, too, with the potential for enhanced working relationships. The ultimate aim is to provide practical benefits through joined-up police, business and community initiatives.

So the private security industry is stepping up to this challenge by raising its standards - and now it's time for the pub industry to play its part. Senior managers must give security the attention and investment it demands.

John Saunders is chief executive of the Security Industry Authority. An online register of SIA Approved Contractors, already totalling 280 firms, can be viewed at, or you can phone 020 7227 3692 for more information

Related topics: Professional Services & Utilities

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