Subject to contract, from 1 April 2017 the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) has been re-appointed as an assessing body for the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) and as a provider of a ‘Passport’ route to ACS compliance. As of that date, the NSI will be offering even more choice for guarding services companies in terms of how they can obtain and maintain their ACS approval.
The NSI provides assessment services to the widest variety of guarding services providers, ranging from small and local specialist operators through to many of the largest national operators. Most have chosen to hold NSI Guarding Gold with an integrated NSI ‘Passport’ to ACS approval. This provides a cost-effective solution for businesses wanting to demonstrate both commitment to the holistic values embodied within the ACS and the rigour of comprehensive compliance with British Standards and the ISO 9001 standard for Quality Management Systems.
The NSI ‘Passport’ route to ACS approval also provides cost benefits in holding multiple approvals with the NSI.
A popular arrangement among typically more regional providers is to appoint the NSI to conduct assessments as part of the ACS standard route approval. Now, the NSI is offering these companies a new ‘middle way’: NSI Guarding Silver with the NSI’s ‘Passport’ to ACS. This means companies can now ‘upgrade’ to an NSI Guarding Silver approval with a ‘Passport’ to ACS approval, demonstrating full compliance with British Standards over and above the standard ACS without necessarily seeking approval to ISO 9001 at the same time. This will prove a valuable and cost-effective stepping stone for companies wanting to differentiate themselves from the ‘Standard’ route to ACS approval and give end user buyers additional confidence in their service providers’ ‘commitment to compliance’ with British Standards.
Working with the private security industry’s Regulator since 2006, the NSI is now looking forward to the ‘next 11 years’ with this extended ACS offering. The NSI is providing more choice in terms of how companies obtain the approval that best suits their business needs. Those same security companies can gain true added value guidance from the NSI’s full-time expert industry auditors.
Sector standards and issues
Having completed over 1,000 assessments on behalf of the SIA since the ACS was introduced in 2006, the NSI’s nine-strong Services Auditor Team members have a unique and expert understanding of the sector’s standards and the issues facing organisations in the industry. Assessing client organisations across the UK, members of the team are dedicated and committed to delivering a consistently high quality of service that gives additional assurances to the buyers of guarding services.
The NSI’s experience of conducting assessments for the SIA – and, indeed, for its own premier certification schemes – makes the Inspectorate “the number one choice” for security providers serious about demonstrating their integrity and compliance with the relevant British Standards.
Margaret Durr, the NSI’s head of field operations (services), commented: “Our team of auditors harbours industry expertise across a broad range of areas including security guarding, close protection, key holding, CCTV, door supervision, event security and investigative services. Feedback from our clients is testament to the added value independent assessment can bring to an organisation.”
Durr added: “The ultimate winners are security buyers and their staff, visitors and the general public who benefit from a consistent and measurable high quality service that provides real return on investment. In turn, security solution providers interested in the ACS or the NSI’s sector-specific approval schemes can be assured of a professional and positive experience with the NSI that supports continual improvement goals.”
Max Linnemann, the NSI’s head of certification services, explained: “We’re delighted that the SIA has renewed our ACS assessment delivery contract and look forward to continuing to work with organisations in providing licensable services with a first class and friendly service. Margaret and her team of services auditors demonstrate industry leading competence and experience when it comes to delivering quality ACS audits.”
*Regardless of company size, those organisations interested in improving their experience of ACS assessments – or otherwise finding out about the benefits of NSI certification – should contact the NSI via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01628 764855
**Information concerning the ‘Standard’ and ‘Passport’ routes to ACS approval can be found on the SIA’s website