The latest instalment in a series of articles where we shine the spotlight on NSI-approved businesses for the benefit of risk and security managers who purchase security guarding as well as systems-focused solutions. Answering our questions on this occasion is Steve Barnett and Mark Baker, Joint MDs at Glevum Security:
Time in security business sector: Joint MDs Steve and Mark have over 50 years expertise / experience between them working with in the security sector, before setting up Glevum Security in March 2000.
Location of the business: Gloucester – the home of English Rugby.
Areas of expertise: Over the years Mark and Steve have gained a wealth of experience within the manned guarding sector, both understanding the quality needs and requirements of running a successful business within this fast moving and growing security sector, from the sowing of the seeds to nurturing the growth of client and operational needs. You never stop learning, as each and every working day can spring a few surprises and roads blocks, where you need to fall back on your experiences and knowledge.
Accreditations: ACS / NSI Guarding Gold, which we have held for over ten years.
Can you briefly describe your business’ activities and what you consider to be your USP as an organisation?
Glevum Security is a provider of manned guarding security services, comprising static guarding, mobile patrols and keyholding services, working in accordance with The Private Security Industry Act 2001 and British Standards. The company was founded by Joint Managing Directors Steven Barnett and Mark Baker, on 2nd March 2000, with an aim to provide a total quality security service, for its Gloucestershire client base. Glevum’s unique selling point is providing a local service with a good communication link with our client and the ability to provide a continuity of staff.
What do your clients value most about the services you deliver?
The feedback we get from our clients is that they are getting a quality service with daily feedback from the team on the ground. They also love the hands-on approach via our 24/7 communication link with friendly, helpful staff that are on-hand to assist them around the clock (1440 minutes a day, 525600 minutes a year). Directors manage and oversee the operations, but it’s the skilful operational team on the ground that is the backbone of the business, forging an excellent working relationship between the Glevum team and the client, leading to continuity of service delivery.
Specifically, what value does ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval bring to your business and its clients?
Accreditations are excellent badges to wear and are used as measuring tools to show our client base the year-on-year improvements made to drive up the service delivery levels. Quality of service is essential within the manned guarding industry. Accreditations that drive up the quality standards are the key driving force for Glevum Security, ensuring that we strive and maintain standards to drive our delivery services forward.
In practice, what are the main differences between ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval?
I believe that we have a very heathy working relationship with the NSI & SIA (ACS), I also believe that they have played an active part in the growth of the business, with their constructive audits, they act independently and play a very important role in our growth and driving quality standards forward within the private security industry.
Personally, I believe that the SIA/ACS scoring is client focused; giving the client the opportunity to measure their tender scope of work against the percentage score achieved by the ACS manned guarding company. However, let us not forget the important role of the SIA by policing the 2001 Private Security Act, which it was brought in to do. The NSI Guarding Gold Standard is more quality driven; ensuring that manned guarding companies deliver a quality service to a strict and well managed British Standard code of practice. Let us also not forget the important role that the National Security Inspectorate plays within our sector, working hand-in-hand to drive up quality.
How do you feel technology has changed the industry over the last couple of years and what do you believe will be the direction of travel in the future?
Technology has made great advances over the past few years, with improvements in data speed and encryption enabling quicker responses and greater communication, whilst improving data protection for businesses and clients alike. This will continue to improve and develop in the future with additional sector investments.
When it comes to negotiating contracts and responding to tender requests, what aspects are of most value to customers and how are these changing?
When negotiating contracts and responding to tenders, priority should be given to what the client is asking for with a quick and concise response. Providing a timely high standard of service in responding to the request and offering any additional advice regards recommendations that may have been overlooked, ensures a thorough understanding of all areas, providing a professional and focused approach in the client’s best interest. Clients appreciate a straightforward, easy to understand contract with easy access to discuss any concerns or amendments at any time.
How has government legislation (eg the National Minimum Wage, the National Living Wage and changes to holiday pay) affected your business? Do you believe such legislation is a good thing?
There needs to be a fair salary structure within any business and across sectors to ensure employees can earn a wage to live. This has not adversely affected our business as we have always been an employer to offer a salary that reflects the high standard of work/service our staff provides. The National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage legislations can only be a positive tool to drive standards up.
What are the most important attributes you look for in your security officers and staff members in general?
The focus of recruiting staff within our business is looking for candidates who have an ability to use initiative with a professional approach and attitude. Being able to remain focused, polite and professional in any situation is paramount. There are busy times and being able to remain calm and deal with any event with accurate reporting helps build and maintain the high standard we pride ourselves on. Our staff are the frontline of our business and they are the ones who help to build and maintain our excellent reputation.
How can the SIA, the NSI and industry standards best serve the sector in addition to the needs of your company’s clients and the wider public interest?
Being able to provide evidence of being approved by a governing body or independent certification body within the industry instils confidence in the quality of service and that all areas of the business are monitored. Accreditations must be earned/achieved with proof of quality. More visible marketing and information about the SIA, the Approved Contractor Scheme and NSI can only be a good thing so that more clients/people are aware of the standards required to achieve this status/recognition.
What are the biggest challenges you face in gaining and retaining business?
Glevum Security has been growing steadily year-on-year and having good professional working relationships with our clients helps to achieve repeat/ongoing business. Our main challenges in this area are smaller new companies that work at very tight margins to get a foot in the door with new clients, but this doesn’t always mean they have gained the experience or reputation yet to maintain these contracts and at the end of the day, it is the quality that prevails.
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is a wholly-independent, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and operates as a UKAS-accredited certification body specialising in the security and fire safety sectors. For over 40 years, the NSI has served to protect businesses, homeowners and the general public alike, raising standards by providing robust and high quality audits of both security and fire safety service providers.