Post-review changes to Approved Contractor Scheme enforced by Security Industry Authority

Changes have now come into effect following the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) comprehensive review of its Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) for private security businesses. This is the culmination of what’s described as a “root and branch” review of the scheme, during which the Regulator consulted extensively with approved companies and, indeed, the wider private security industry.

Evidence from the consultation suggested that the SIA didn’t need to make fundamental changes to the scheme. However, it was clear from the responses that there were opportunities to make improvements.

The Regulator has now published a refreshed ACS standard and new Self-Assessment Workbook.

Tony Holyland, head of quality and standards at the SIA, commented: “We’re building on a quality standard that has already proved itself to be successful. We’ve now made a number of key changes which will strengthen the scheme.  We’ve worked closely with industry to derive a standard that reflects Best Practice and provides a framework for businesses to help drive improvement.”

Approved contractors should now undertake a full business review at the earliest opportunity to see how the new requirements affect their business. That will give them the information they need to make any changes and ensure they still conform to the requirements.

Summary of the changes

A summary of the changes is as follows:

*The standard has been updated to put greater emphasis on service delivery

*The aforementioned Self-Assessment Workbook (SAW) has been streamlined and made clearer and easier to navigate. The SAW contains the quality indicators that approved contractors must meet

*The SIA has revised the eligibility criteria and ‘fit and proper’ conditions and outlined them in a new brochure – ‘Get Approved’. This enhanced scrutiny will reassure clients and enforcement partners that they’re working with some of the best-run businesses in the industry

*The SIA is taking a firmer approach with PAYE on the advice of the industry in order to create a level playing field. Approved contractors must justify, with evidence, why their staff are not PAYE. This will confirm that businesses are employing staff on the correct basis, ensuring compliance with tax and employment law as well as making sure that employees of approved contractors enjoy proper employment rights

*The Regulator is revising its approach to marketing the scheme and providing support for businesses

*A ‘pre-approval interview’ will now be conducted with any new applicant business. The outcome of this ‘pre-approval interview’ will inform the SIA’s assessment of the business’ compliance with the Regulator’s ‘fit and proper’ conditions and identify whether there are any additional assessment needs

For further details on the changes read the bulletins on the ACS Review section of the Regulator’s website.

ACS events in May

The SIA is hosting several events in May and June for approved contractors. The proposed agenda includes looking at how the Regulator is supporting security businesses. SIA operations staff are developing innovative new methods of providing support for businesses.

There will also be a focus on meeting challenges in a demanding market. How are security businesses using innovative methods to improve the service they provide?

The locations and dates of these events are as follows:

Belfast: Thursday 2 May
Edinburgh: Wednesday 8 May
Sheffield: Thursday 16 May
Chester: Tuesday 21 May
Bristol: Thursday 23 May
Birmingham: Tuesday 4 June
London: Wednesday 5 June

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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