This is the 22nd instalment in a series of articles for the readers of Risk Xtra 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 time around is Neil Barham, managing director of Danhouse Security.
Risk Xtra: Can you briefly describe your business’ activities and what you consider to be your USP as an organisation?
Neil Barham: We’re a dedicated security solutions provider and we work in true partnership with our clients. The provision of a full and thorough security regime from inception through to delivery is really what Danhouse Security is all about. Our USP is simple and effective: we deliver “the right service with the right people at the right time”.
Risk Xtra: What do your clients value most about the services you deliver?
Neil Barham: We’ve been operational for 25 years now and established excellent links with our client base throughout this period. We operate a flat structure. Clients and members of staff come into contact with myself as the managing director on a regular basis and this absolutely shows we always strive to provide a communication structure that stretches from top to bottom within the business.
Neil Barham: Certain accreditations, such as the Security Industry Authority (SIA) Approved Contractor registration, SafeContractor and ISO 9001 are now expected, but I believe it’s the ‘nice to have too’ accreditations that move companies into a different bracket. As a Living Wage Foundation member business, for example, we see more receptiveness from clients towards the welfare of our staff. The fact we have ISO 18001 and the business is transitioning to 45001 proves that, as an organisation, we’re keenly focused on environmental issues.
Risk Xtra: Specifically, what value does ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval bring to your business and its clients?
Neil Barham: They show we’re the same as the Top 30 companies and also that we follow the required standards of the industry. ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval have enabled us to quote/tender for contracts that, generally speaking, a company of our size wouldn’t otherwise be involved in. They’re the standards most clients expect to see and, without a doubt, highlight the fact that we deliver on the services and solutions we sell.
Risk Xtra: In practice, what are the main differences between ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval?
Neil Barham: In terms of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), in most clients’ eyes they feel the higher the company’s score, the better the business. I believe this misconception needs to be addressed. In most cases, the talk is now all about the ‘Top 15% of security companies in the UK’ or the ‘Top 10%’. There’s no longer any highlighting of the ACS scores achieved.
Moving forward with the new ACS Workbook, I believe this will help to level the playing field and will hopefully pick out certain companies that may have a more ambiguous scoring structure.
NSI Guarding Gold is, in my view, the standard companies should achieve as, in the majority of cases, the Gold accreditation is hugely significant.
Neil Barham: The industry has gone from exhibiting a ‘People Plus Technology’ focus to become a ‘Technology Plus People’-centric industry. In the last eight-to-24 months a keen focus on the right people with the right technology has developed. There’s little doubt the two sides of the security industry now have to work together in tandem and cannot be direct competitors. Companies embracing this philosophy and looking to provide the genuine ‘Security Solution’ option will continue to thrive.
Risk Xtra: When it comes to negotiating contracts and responding to tender requests, what aspects are of most value to customers and how are these changing?
Neil Barham: Pricing is still key, but this is now more keenly linked to innovation and value for money. Accreditations can see a security business being accepted by the client. A lack of them will have the opposite outcome. I believe ‘Solutions’ are becoming more relevant in tenders and that companies need to look to provide such or, put simply, they’ll be left behind.
Risk Xtra: 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 for this industry?
Neil Barham: Such legislation is indeed a good thing. It means we push to secure a fair wage for our staff with good benefits. Those customers who cannot see this will be the ones with whom we don’t wish to be associated. Increases to the minimum wage, etc command a high profile in the media, and indeed society in general, and we always look to match these increases in order to maintain a good work/life balance for our members of staff.
Risk Xtra: What are the most important attributes you look for in your security officers and staff members in general?
Neil Barham: An attitude recognising our industry is one still characterised by long hours, but that it’s also one now offering a fair wage and has come to be more rewarding. We need individuals who can develop as we develop as a supplier by embracing change, innovation and new technology. Individuals from different backgrounds are good to recruit as they come with different skill sets to be adapted within the industry.
Risk Xtra: 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?
Neil Barham: When will business licensing happen? We’ve heard so much about it, but nothing ever comes to fruition. I firmly believe it would be a good thing if it’s managed correctly as business licensing isn’t just a ‘tick-box’ exercise. Such licensing does need to have teeth, though, in order to enable creditable companies to move forward and ensure the disappearance of those that are not.
Going forward, the SIA, the NSI and other key bodies need to agree on how to audit for 9001 and the ACS, etc such that it’s the same for all. We know that this isn’t the case at present, so there’s not a level playing field for all.
It appears that clients and members of the public are indifferent to all of this. The key driver for the former remains cost. In terms of the latter, I still think there’s the misconception that security staff are all low paid and of lower intelligence. This is the kind of erroneous image that we all need to work together on changing.
Time in security business sector
A senior career-minded individual with 26 years’ experience in the security guarding industry. Proven track record of bringing business units into profit through building and developing operations, sales, support and administrative teams to produce a high level of customer satisfaction. A business developer covering operations through to innovation. A believer in Best Practice who delivers service excellence and higher productivity and value. Working in sales successfully through an innovative and solutions-based approach. A leader who has shown strong financial management skills to focus on profit and loss accounts, produce budgets and forecasts, provide cost control methods and opportunities and deliver teams centred on profitable activity
*Trigion Security Services (part of the Facilicom Group) – Operations Director, April 2013-August 2017
*Securitas – Area Director (East and South East), December 2011-August 2012
*Chubb Security – Regional Director (South), February 2008-December 2011
*Chubb Security – Business Manager, March 2007-February 2008
*Initial Security/Mitie – Area/Branch Manager, May 1999-December 2006
Location of the business
Registered office in Ashtead, Surrey. Operational base in Hammersmith, London
Areas of expertise
We provide a ‘Security Solutions’ provision for our end users. We will take the time to look at the implicit needs and requirements of the customer and deliver a service that’s bespoke to that customer whether this involves manpower, technical systems, response solutions or a combination of the three. Our core services are 24-hour security guarding, reception/concierge, technical security solutions, Help Desks, Post Room, administration roles, mobile patrols, security solutions, key holding and security consultancy
Accreditations held by the company
NSI Guarding Gold, SIA Approved Contractor, SafeContractor, BSIA Member Company, Living Wage Foundation Employer, ISO 18001
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.