This month sees the first in a new series of articles for the readers of Risk UK in which we shine the spotlight on NSI-approved businesses for the benefit of risk and security managers who purchase security solutions. Answering our questions on this occasion is Teresa O’Neill, the SIA and HR Compliance Manager at Bouygues Energies & Services.
Risk UK: Can you briefly describe your business’ activities and what you consider to be your USP as an organisation?
Teresa O’Neill: Bouygues Energies & Services is a customer-centric facilities management (FM) and energy performance partner. We actively specialise in the diverse services and support structures needed to create and maintain efficient, comfortable and safe places in which to work or visit.
The business’ dedicated and professional teams actively ensure that offices, schools, public sector buildings, industrial facilities and healthcare environments, etc are operating exactly as they should on a daily basis.
Our comprehensive range of FM services is tailored to suit day-to-day building requirements. We take responsibility for the set-up and ongoing delivery of the vital functions needed to support core activity including security, maintenance, cleaning, reception and catering. Our skilled teams carry out electrical and mechanical works, maintain energy and digital networks and also serve to look after the management of logistics.
Bouygues’ security team and the business’ strong security culture play an important underpinning role in supporting a high quality, consistent and valued service delivery for our client base.
By its very nature, our business covers a broad range of roles and locations. However, our entire team is guided by the company’s core values: listening, teamwork and leading by example. We’re proud to be an Investors in People business and take care to recruit and reward the best individuals, affording opportunities for members of staff to develop to their fullest potential.
We also invest significant time and effort in nurturing and retaining productive supply chain relationships which represent a valued extension to our core teams. By investing both time and resources in all of our working partnerships, we feel that we facilitate positive and lasting change.
Bouygues Energies & Services operates in over 25 countries worldwide and is part of the Bouygues Group, itself a global brand employing upwards of 130,000 individuals in 80 countries within the construction, civil works, energy, services, telecommunications and media sectors.
Risk UK: What do your clients value most about the services you deliver?
Teresa O’Neill: Consistently, we learn that clients value our dynamic management approach with its in-depth support structure. This allows for enduring and powerful client relationships to develop on our contracts.
To thrive in the market, we must create real customer value by matching and owning clear shared objectives with our clients. We engender a lasting customer experience by delivering beyond the remit of the pure contractual specification. This is achieved through personal involvement, attention to detail and swift engagement with any issues that arise.
In short, our team’s spirit and proactivity creates a genuine partnership at all levels between the business and our customers.
Risk UK: How do you feel accreditations have assisted your company?
Teresa O’Neill: Bouygues Energies & Services holds Security Industry Authority (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status for the provision of Security Guarding and Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) services. We enjoy being a National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Guarding Gold and ARC Gold-accredited organisation. This provides a range of benefits and recognition of our adherence to Best Practice. We’ve also achieved ISO 27001 (the Information Security Management Standard).
These distinctions are not only a source of confidence for customers as they seek to select a trusted and credible solutions provider, but each scheme also provides an excellent framework for setting, improving and monitoring our own standards.
Accreditations can impact almost every aspect of a business, from leadership right through to front line staff. Accreditation is a process by which our business presents its competency, authority and credibility and is formally recognised for promoting and implementing more efficient working practices. This also supports the wider business objectives of the Bouygues Group.
Risk UK: Specifically, what value does ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval bring to your business and its clients?
Teresa O’Neill: Given that Bouygues Energies & Services has scored in the Top 5% for the last seven years and more, ACS registration affords our company the opportunity to distinguish itself as one of the best providers of private security services in the UK.
NSI Guarding Gold and NSI ARC Gold demonstrate to our clients that we deliver an exceptionally high standard of service when it comes to security, affording credibility and confidence among our clients and allowing trust to develop around the delivery of our security solutions for their buildings, members of staff and, indeed, their own customers.
We know that customers value the independent benchmarks of quality the SIA and NSI afford the sector, not to mention the framework provision that helps companies such as ours to drive themselves forward.
Risk UK: In practice, what are the main differences between ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval?
Teresa O’Neill: The ACS has long been advertised as the benchmark of quality for the private security industry.
There’s an absolute level of performance that needs to be met for a given security business to be able to trade as an ACS-registered concern. Through the sectional scoring there’s also a natural rating that serves to position security companies accordingly.
With its rigorous assessment criteria, we see that the NSI accreditation provides a complimentary scheme that helps in differentiating the higher quality service providers. This is exemplified through additional and tougher entry standards with due diligence on application and ongoing inspections by the NSI’s specialist auditors.
Risk UK: 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?
Teresa O’Neill: Technology is becoming more affordable, of higher quality and easier to integrate, enabling security teams to be better informed, protected and supportive towards customers and their communities.
Communication tools have developed to support lone working, body-worn video and geo-fencing, to name but a few areas. The underpinning radio technology synonymous with security over the years is adapting to integrate this functionality. Ultimately, good communication helps to keep our teams and, of course, our customers safe and secure.
The installed systems to monitor and provide physical protection for buildings and assets have also been developing at pace in recent times. Long gone are the days of grainy picture quality analogue-based CCTV installations.
The ability to support buildings through video patrols is a much more sensible resource option. Joining our Operations Centre with local teams routinely builds the drilled and linked organisation needed to operate efficiently.
e-Learning is a medium that’s particularly well-suited to the security sector given the latter’s 24/7 operation. This continues to develop well and will become ever-more ‘bite-sized’ and easy to distribute to large workforces for building consistency in approach and achieving improvements in communication. This will always be auxiliary to the traditional teaching and mentoring plans we have in place, but e-Learning does represent an increasingly powerful toolset.
Cyber security is a growing threat to the UK and Bouygues has duly invested in protecting its systems. We’ve adopted the Government’s Cyber Essentials Programme and we’re working with our supply chain partners to ensure that they too are putting in place Cyber Essentials for a good baseline of cyber security designed to protect them from cyber attack.
Ultimately, we believe that a mix of people and technology creates a total security solution, giving us the capability to introduce innovations and improvements both for the present time and into the future.
The industry needs to find cost-effective alternatives that mitigate risks to acceptable levels, while also allowing any business to move forward. This then means that security transitions from being seen merely as a part of the ‘financial overhead’ to being viewed by business leaders as a competitive advantage.
Risk UK: When it comes to negotiating contracts and responding to tender requests, what aspects are of most value to customers and how are these changing?
Teresa O’Neill: The provision of a cost-efficient security service is well-established as part of the competitive selection process and there’s a healthy number of suitable higher-end accredited providers presently in operation.
Today, customers require a more valued offer that integrates fully into their specific business and recognises the position that makes them commercially successful in their own sector.
Our security teams determine to provide considerable value for our clients through the way in which they work on the environmental aspects of interaction, saving end user businesses money through, for example, behavioural interactions and fully-funded energy enhancement capital programmes.
Risk UK: 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?
Teresa O’Neill: Government legislation such as the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage has raised the standard and calibre of the staff that we can hire while allowing us to continue to remain competitive within the marketplace.
All of our security staff are paid above the London Living Wage, which allows them to avoid the worries associated with paying bills or whether they have any disposable income for leisure activities, which in turn helps in promoting a better work-life balance.
This means that staff members are more productive and engaged in the workplace, inspiring loyalty and reducing staff turnover.
Risk UK: What are the most important attributes you look for in your security officers and staff members in general?
Teresa O’Neill: With the introduction of industry-standard accreditations, there’s no doubt that the security officer’s role became a profession and not just a job. As a business, we search for security officers who have the competencies and personal values that allow them to integrate within our teams. The individuals concerned must be adept in customer care, with their behaviours firmly rooted in procedural adherence.
We need educated and trained professionals to support our business growth. Individuals who have an ambition to develop within Bouygues Energies & Services as a constituent of our security teams, but also within the wider company. We do find that commitment to our business’ core values underpins successful careers within Bouygues Energies & Services.
Risk UK: 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? Will the planned introduction of business licensing be a positive step?
Teresa O’Neill: We need to keep the balance of regulation right such that the industry is able to respond to the developing needs of its customers and manage the ever-changing risk profile around us. Regulation is important for the maintenance of consistency and trust, but we do need to ensure that the attached costs represent value for money for UK plc.
The planned introduction of business licensing should be a positive step if there’s a keen focus on simplifying the process of licensing and affording the opportunity to drive efficiency for companies, while also delivering continued and solid assurances on proven competency of providers in the marketplace.
Business licensing may be seen by some commentators as another element increasing the cost burden on the industry, while it also seeks to transfer the administrative responsibility to security companies.
With the current ACS, there’s a desire to continually improve the industry and educate the public and buyers of security services that the scheme exists and brings value to the sector. However, we believe that the criteria for NSI approval are far more stringent.
SIA and HR Compliance Manager
Time in security business sector
I joined the security industry back in 1989 as a controller while still at college and never looked back. Across the years I’ve worked for Group 4, Sabrewatch, Securicor and Reliance. I’ve held several roles within the security sector including those of front line officer and supervisor, store detective and trainer and I’ve also focused on screening and compliance.
Location of the business
Bouygues Energies & Services’ UK head office is located on the Lambeth Palace Road in London’s Waterloo. We’re a national company with offices spread across the UK.
Areas of expertise
Bouygues’ tailored security solutions service a range of public (Government, education and healthcare) environments and commercial properties, providing bespoke delivery models to suit each client’s needs. Every client receives a service that not only reflects their operational and financial requirements, but also complements their designated corporate culture.
SIA ACS, NSI Guarding Gold Scheme, NSI ARC Gold Scheme, Investors in People (Silver), ISO 27001 Information Security Management, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001, ISO 50001, SafeContractor, RoSPA Gold, Armed Forces Covenant
About the National Security Inspectorate
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.