BII and Noctis bid to step into SIA void

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sia Bii Security industry authority

Two trade bodies are bidding to run a national doorstaff scheme, after major fears were raised over the scrapping of the Security Industry Authority...

Two trade bodies are bidding to run a national doorstaff scheme, after major fears were raised over the scrapping of the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

The BII and Noctis have joined forces in bid to persuade the Home Office they can fill the void when the SIA is dismantled.

Last week the government confirmed the SIA was being "phased out", as part of a move dubbed a "Bonfire of the Quangos".

Thousands of pubs employ doorstaff and some fear an unregulated industry will lead to cowboys returning to the sector.

Michael Kheng, who runs five outlets in Lincolnshire, said: "Without correct regulation the dark old days of the bouncer may just return, and nobody within the industry wants that."

But Neil Robertson, the BII's chief executive, sought to reassure licensees. "We are not going back to the bad old days," he said.

"We don't care about the SIA, but we do want a robust, national scheme and we are pressing the government on this point.

"We are saying get rid of the quango, but not the service."

It is understood the BII and Noctis have made it clear to the Home Office they would be willing to take on the role of the SIA, potentially with help from other bodies.

The BII already offers a national door supervisor qualification. And Robertson suggested a "buying club" could be set up so operators only hire doorstaff from legitimate firms.

Paul Smith, Noctis' executive director, said: "We are looking at presenting a credible option to the government that would be more affordable and more accountable."

He added: "What we don't want is the expense of the SIA."

Currently an SIA licence costs individual doorstaff £245, which Smith argued was "too much" and suggested it had knock-on effects in making doorstaff more expensive for venues.

He suggested if Noctis and BII took over, the system would be self-funding.

However, it is likely the Home Office is looking at other bids from groups keen to step into the breach.

But the fear is the government could decide to hand regulation down to local authorities. Smith warned leaving councils to their own devices could lead to a lack of "uniformity" in the system.

Meanwhile, the Home Office and SIA have stressed it remains a criminal offence to employ unlicensed doorstaff or to operate without an SIA licence.

The maximum penalty for using unlicensed staff is five years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

A statement on the SIA website said: "The government has announced a phased transition to a new regulatory regime.

However, this will take some time to put into place. Until that time, the current law continues to apply."

Quangos, including the SIA, can only be scrapped once the Public Bodies Bill, has been passed in Parliament.

However, the SIA is due to be kept as a public body in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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