SIA: 'We are still letting you down'

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Applicants for SIA licences are still facing delays in their renewal applications, the return of their documents and getting through to the SIA call...

Applicants for SIA licences are still facing delays in their renewal applications, the return of their documents and getting through to the SIA call centre.

Mike Wilson, chief executive of the SIA, has made the admission in a letter to security companies, released today.

The SIA renewal process has been dogged by problems over the past six months, with applicants complaining about huge delays in renewing their licences and lost documents - rendering many technically unable to work.

The problems mirror the delays and cock-ups which dogged the launch of the system three years ago, when many doorstaff were still waiting for their original applications to be processed as the new system became law.

In the letter, an update to a previous letter on March 3, Wilson says the SIA has been working hard to resolve the issues, and progress has been made - "but it has not been as rapid as I had hoped".

On licensing application processing times, the chief executive says: "Our target has been that we should complete 80 per cent of licence decisions within six weeks of receiving a valid application. Although the time taken to process applications is dropping, we have not yet reached our target. However, the majority of recently received valid applications are now being processed within six to eight weeks."

Wilson claims documents are now being returned as quickly as possible although service levels had "slipped back" and it is currently taking "a few weeks rather than days" to return documents.

But Wilson claimed a new system had been put in place to deal with applications which have been caught in the system, with most cases now completing their way through the process.

An increase in call centre staff and new online processes have been put in place to deal with applicants, with the previous 'hold' time of 20 minutes now reducing - although the chief executive admitted the centre was still "heavily overloaded".

Wilson claims there will be a much more noticeable improvement in performance in the next few weeks.

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