This is the third instalment in a new series of articles for the readers of Risk UK 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 this month is Andrew Nicholson, managing director of Barnsley-based Doyle Security.
Risk UK: Can you briefly describe your business’ activities and what you consider to be your USP as an organisation?
Andrew Nicholson: Doyle Security is a supplier of total security solutions. What this means in essence is that we address almost all of the security disciplines that our clients require, from supplying fully-trained and licensed security officers and providing key holding and alarm response solutions through to the installation of commercial grade CCTV, intruder and fire alarm systems.
We’re very proud of the fact that we’re a family-run company and have been for over 30 years. Any potential client can be sure that not only will they receive a first class service from us, but they’ll also have complete peace of mind knowing that we, as a company, can demonstrate longevity of service as a bespoke security solutions provider.
Risk UK: What do your clients value most about the services you deliver?
Andrew Nicholson: The level of experience and honesty we bring for each and every client with whom we interact is, I firmly believe, one of our biggest assets as a company.
Being able to offer a full range of security solutions also helps greatly as clients like the fact they only have to make one phone call and they know that, whatever their individual issue might be, we can bespoke a solution that’s both affordable and, more importantly, goes a long way towards resolving their security issues.
Risk UK: How do you feel accreditations have assisted your company?
Andrew Nicholson: Accreditations have been a great assistance to the business. For well over a decade now, we’ve embraced both the National Security Inspectorate’s (NSI) Guarding Gold scheme and the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). We wholeheartedly believe they set the standard. Those security companies receiving accreditation and continually working to the benchmarks outlined within are operating at the highest levels. It sets them apart from other security companies.
More and more of the tenders and contract requests we receive stipulate either one or both of these accreditations. We’re extremely proud that we hold both NSI Guarding Gold and ACS registration and will continue to do so.
Risk UK: Specifically, what value does ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval bring to your business and its clients?
Andrew Nicholson: ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval set the standard not only for the quality of services we bring to our clients, but also in terms of how we run our business on a daily basis.
All of our staff members believe passionately in working to the set standards in every aspect of Doyle Security’s day-to-day operations. Only by them doing so will our clients benefit from engagement with Doyle Security as a company.
Risk UK: In practice, what are the main differences between ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval?
Andrew Nicholson: ACS registration is all about helping security solution providers to raise the standard of service they offer for their clients. Many of the ACS criteria are directly linked to improving the working experience of employees which, in turn, hopefully increases the standard of the services we offer as a business right across the board.
The new ACS workbook and scoring criteria allow security companies to demonstrate Best Practice which brings added value for clients.
NSI Guarding Gold approval is more concerned with security companies demonstrating adherence to ISO 9001:2015 and all of the individual British Standards relating specifically to the security business sector.
Risk UK: How do you think technology has changed the industry over the last couple of years and what do you feel will be the direction of travel in the future?
Andrew Nicholson: Across the past few years, the myriad innovations in IT have been the biggest game-changer for us from an operational point of view. Innovations in software have enabled us to introduce new systems of working designed to improve the way in which we rota our staff and how we communicate this to them, how we monitor their performance and also how we can interact with clients when it comes to informing them of issues and for incident reporting.
Although improvements in technology have driven down the prices for high quality technical systems, the emphasis will always be on how we use this technology. Often, there’s simply no substitute for human interaction in delivering a high quality security service.
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?
Andrew Nicholson: A few years ago, it was the norm for a client to ask for an hourly rate. Many afforded little thought as to what they were receiving for their money. Now, when we receive genuine contract and tender requests, it’s clear that the emphasis is no longer solely on cost. Potential clients want to know what added value can be realised by their prospective security solutions provider.
At Doyle Security, we spend much time and effort in explaining to clients that securing their site is a team effort involving all parties. Only when we work as a team and gather feedback from all concerned can we do our utmost to ensure the client’s premises, people and property are as secure as possible.
As history tells us, there’s no such thing as a completely fail-safe security system. We believe it’s a case of placing as many barriers as possible in front of would-be criminals so as to deter them enough that they think twice and move on. With regular meetings and good client feedback, we can accomplish a very high level of customer service.
Risk UK: How has Government legislation (eg the National Minimum Wage, the National Living Wage and holiday pay) affected your business? Do you believe such legislation is a good thing?
Andrew Nicholson: The introduction of both the National Minimum Wage and, more recently, the National Living Wage are two of the best things to have happened for the security sector. In an industry that has been renowned for its long working hours, security officers can now work a more reasonable shift pattern and still earn a decent salary.
That said, we believe the industry can do more. With the increase in the National Minimum Wage and the recent introduction of the Living Wage, we’ve seen the rise of the so-called ‘self-employed’ security officer. Often, these individuals are paid less than the National Minimum Wage in an attempt – by unscrupulous security companies – to keep hourly rates low in order to win business. These unfortunate individuals don’t receive sick pay, holiday pay or any of the benefits to which they’re entitled.
Risk UK: What are the most important attributes you look for in your security officers and staff members in general?
Andrew Nicholson: The answer here is quite a simple one: professionalism. Professionalism encompasses honesty, integrity and the ability to give 100% to all tasks. These must be a ‘given’ on the characteristics measure.
High on the list of what we look for – and what clients like – are a smart appearance and solid communication skills. The ability to communicate clearly with clients and any other third party often leads to positive results.
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 introduction of business licensing be a positive step?
Andrew Nicholson: Ever since 2007, we’ve been championing the introduction of business licensing for the private security industry.
Licensing individuals has been a fantastic initiative and a giant leap forward for regulating the private security sector, but only by regulating each individual business can we hope to have a fully-level playing field. It would allow greater flexibility and better outcomes.
Time in the security sector
I’ve been in the security sector for over 16 years. I joined Doyle Security in early 2001. Prior to this, I worked within the sales and marketing industry
Location of the business
Doyle Security is strategically located in Barnsley just off Junction 37 of the M1 motorway which affords great transport links to the M1, M62, A1 and M18 network
Areas of expertise
Security guarding, alarm response, mobile patrol and key holding services, CCTV monitoring, CCTV, intruder and fire alarm system installation, access control solutions and security provision for major events
SIA ACS (Security Guarding), NSI Guarding Gold Scheme, SafeContractor Scheme, CHAS Accredited Contractor, ISO 9001:2015, BS 7499:2013, BS 7984-1: 2016, BS 7958:2015, BS 7858:2012
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.