This is the 23rd 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 on this occasion is Troy Moffatt, commercial director at the First Response Group.
Risk Xtra: Can you briefly describe your business’ activities and what you consider to be your USP as an organisation?
Troy Moffatt: First Response Group (FRG) is one of the UK’s leading multi-service and security providers delivering total security, risk management and facilities management (FM) solutions to a wide range of public and private sector clients nationwide.
At FRG, we completely understand that our people play a crucial role in providing our customers with the best possible security and facilities management solutions. It isn’t just about the latest technology. You need the right people, in the right place and with the right attitude to deliver it. That’s why we’ve developed a robust training and development philosophy based on employee inclusion and happiness which motivates and supports our staff to provide outstanding customer experiences.
Our mission is: ‘To provide our customers with the best service and innovation through supporting our employees and creating a culture of inclusion and happiness’.
We work with our clients to design cost-effective solutions tailored to their exact requirements and expectations throughout the project lifecycle. We help our clients to minimise risk, meet regulatory requirements and deliver efficient and effective solutions that will assist in driving value through their businesses.
We Listen – We Respond – We Deliver.
Troy Moffatt: Expertise, innovation and the personal touch. At FRG, we pride ourselves on delivering what we promise. We’re driven by our values and these values ensure that we offer a great employee and customer experience.
Through the expertise we have in our teams and the support we offer our colleagues, we’re adept at designing bespoke solutions. This also enables us to be adaptable and flexible in anticipating our clients’ needs as they evolve.
Risk Xtra: How do you feel accreditations have assisted your company?
Troy Moffatt: Accreditations are incredibly important to FRG. We strive to be at the forefront of compliance across all areas of our business and our accreditations serve as absolute confirmation of our commitment to operational excellence at all times.
Our accreditations have supported company growth both in the development of our operational practices and in demonstrating our professionalism to prospective clients, helping us win larger contracts and widen our customer demographic. Security services are intrinsically built on trust and having our professionalism independently validated and certified through schemes such as NSI Guarding Gold demonstrates to our clients that we will provide the support and expertise they require.
Our accreditations also demonstrate to our employees that we’re a people-focused business dedicated to improving standards in the industry. Being accredited by the Living Wage Foundation and the British Safety Council has been great for our culture which benefits our clients, our employees and FRG as a whole.
Risk Xtra: Specifically, what value does ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval bring to your business and its clients?
Troy Moffatt: FRG is proud to be certified as NSI Guarding Gold and in the Top 10% of companies based on the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) score received during the last published assessment audit.
ACS registration and NSI Guarding Gold approval drive continuous improvement. As business tools, they encourage you to think about all aspects of your operation and how they can be improved for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Achieving NSI Guarding Gold has enabled us to tender for and secure contracts that would otherwise typically have gone to a ‘name brand’ provider.
Troy Moffatt: As a regulatory scheme, the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) ACS sets a benchmark for the security industry. It ensures that the integrity of the industry is maintained and that employment practices are extensively assessed in respect of quality, compliance and Best Practice.
However, the ACS has such a broad measurement criterion that this makes it difficult for the market to determine the difference between two ACS companies.
Our NSI Guarding Gold approval is a differentiator and demonstrates that FRG’s management system and operating practices meet the highest standards for businesses operating within the security industry. It confirms to our customers that we’re committed to delivering services of the highest standards in order to protect the interests of the client and the consumer.
While NSI Guarding Gold approval covers the ACS Workbook criterion it also requires product certification to BS 7499, BS 7858 and BS 7958 as well as certification to ISO 9001. This enhanced level of scrutiny signifies the credibility of FRG as a provider of distinction.
Troy Moffatt: Technology will always play a significant role in the evolution of the security industry, but the future will require skilful integration of people and the latest innovation.
While there are great technical advancements happening right now such as self-learning CCTV analytics and automated or remote operated access control, security will always be a people-centric industry and maintaining the balance between the two must be front of mind when designing customer solutions.
As service providers, we need to constantly adapt to keep pace with the latest innovation enabling us to capture more data and develop information-based strategies that manage risk, support our people and inform our customers.
We carry out a lot of work in very remote locations and the use of technology has enabled us to become much closer to our teams through team integration, enhanced service delivery, supporting employee welfare and encouraging personal development.
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?
Troy Moffatt: Contract negotiations in our industry will always be, to an extent, largely financially driven with a proposition that assures the service will be delivered by a credible service provider and competent persons.
We’re finding now that quality weighting is increasing with more and more customers looking for a differentiator that isn’t just about price. There’s certainly a growing focus on innovation, sustainability and social value with customers wanting to understand in more detail who will be delivering their services and how those services will be delivered and managed
It’s also important for security solutions companies to demonstrate their ability to develop diverse and resilient teams along with introducing technology solutions that will provide cost efficiency and service improvements.
Ultimately, today’s clients are looking to us to understand their needs, objectives and their values and to provide solutions that meet their current needs, while also having the agility to anticipate and adapt to changes in the internal and external environments.
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 the industry?
Troy Moffatt: Government legislation for pay and conditions is a great thing. Increasing costs will of course reduce margins, and this is sometimes difficult for contractors and clients to manage. However, research proves that investment in your people will benefit your business with increased motivation and retention for employees, which will in turn reduce costs and improve performance.
FRG is a Recognised Service Provider working in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation as we believe that every employee should be fairly compensated for their efforts.
Security officers take on significant responsibilities in protecting people, property and assets, often in vulnerable or challenging situations. We encourage our customers to think about the responsibility these people are taking and the value of these assets when considering whether to accept a seemingly lower price.
It’s great that clients are looking for ACS businesses and, ideally, NSI Guarding Gold approval. However, without a fair rate of pay for the operatives that will be securing their assets, there will always be a vulnerability in the service provision.
The security industry has long suffered from being a low wage industry and it’s up to us as service providers, and organisations such as the NSI and the SIA, to educate the buying market on the impact of low pay and the benefits of what the Living Wage Foundation puts forward.
Risk Xtra: What are the most important attributes you look for in your security officers and staff members in general?
Troy Moffatt: The most important attribute we look for is attitude. People are our brand. They are our ambassadors and they’re our future. Security is all about the people who deliver it. We look for candidates with the attitude and personality that will fit with our values and our colleagues and help deliver on our clients’ expectations.
Naturally, there are certain requirements around qualifications or experience for certain roles. That said, with the right training, coaching and mentoring, specific capabilities can be developed into specific abilities. We focus on people development at all levels of our business.
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?
Troy Moffatt: We believe that the ACS is the route to business licencing and should be mandatory. This would ensure that companies providing security services to private and public sector organisations are regulated and ‘fit and proper’ to conduct the activities with which they’re engaged.
If front line officers are regulated and required to meet SIA licensing requirements then the businesses that employ them should be held to a licensing requirement as well. If the SIA were to approve businesses through licensing and the NSI then conducts compliance audits, this would only serve to improve standards in the industry.
As long as the ACS remains voluntary then there will always be operators that abuse the privilege of providing vital security services. As Government spending on public services reduces, so the pressures and demands placed on the private security industry increase. So, then, should the regulatory compliance of these service providers.
The SIA and the NSI can add support in the promotion of standards in the industry. Perhaps some form of educational campaign aimed at security buyers regarding the risks associated with low-cost/unregulated security and the impacts this can exert on people and communities would be beneficial.
Troy Moffatt CMgr MCMI
Time in security business sector
Ten years’ experience with involvement at all levels of the security industry encompassing roles in business development, commercial management, operational delivery and quality and compliance before becoming Group commercial director
Location of the business
FRG’s Head Office is in Leeds with regional offices in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Aberdeen
Areas of expertise
FRG is a multi-service security provider delivering total security, risk management and FM solutions including Front of House and reception services, gatehouse services, security guarding, canine security units, CCTV, access control and intruder alarm installations, CCTV monitoring, design, installation and maintenance of fire alarm and detection systems, key holding and alarm response, mobile patrols and property inspections and vacant property solutions. We are also specialists in temporary security solutions such as rapid deployment CCTV
SIA Approved Contractor, NSI Guarding Gold, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018, Cyber Essentials, Living Wage Foundation Recognised Service Provider, SafeContractor, ConstructionLine Gold Member, Member of the British Safety Council, BAFE SP203-1, CS Pacesetter, RISQS audited, UVDB qualified, Associate Member of NASDU and Supply Chain Sustainability School Gold Member
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.