Skills and qualifications review for private security industry in progress at the Regulator

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has begun a wide-ranging review of the licence-linked qualifications, widening the scope of this work to consider not just the mandatory qualifications required by the Regulator, but also how to support the industry to address the skills and knowledge needed by operatives throughout their careers and across the spectrum of security provision. The review will also look to ensure that robust assessment processes exist to ensure the integrity of the qualifications achieved.

Crucial to the success of this project is the engagement of industry and stakeholders. Therefore, the SIA is conducting a comprehensive consultation exercise. This will include primary research interviews with hundreds of operatives, focus groups involving businesses and consultation with expert stakeholders. The process will be completed by the end of 2019 and the new qualifications made available in January 2020.

This review includes consideration of any refresher training that the SIA requires operatives to undergo. Every five years, the Regulator reviews the qualifications to ensure that they’re still in line with industry working practice, new risks that might have emerged and technology changes.

Steve McCormick, the SIA’s director of operations and standards, explained: ​”This is a very important piece of work because we have a statutory responsibility to raise standards in the private security industry. Our aim is to improve the professionalism of security operatives, drive standards in the industry and help protect the public in the UK. I believe that we can facilitate the development of a new set of qualifications to raise standards over time. We will also help to better define career paths and opportunities for those joining the workforce. This will assist the industry to improve the standards of service delivery, and also help with recruitment and retention.”

The project has a number of key milestones that will need to be delivered before the new qualifications become available in January 2020. These are the development of qualifications specifications, research and consultation into the private security industry’s characteristics, working methods and emerging/future trends, the development of quality parameters for the delivery of training and the development of a skills strategy for the industry.

Shaping the sector’s future

McCormick further explained: “In the next few weeks, we will be conducting a consultation on the draft specifications for each licensable sector. We will be supporting this with a number of one-to-one interviews with operatives and businesses. We hope as many individuals and companies as possible will take part in the consultation. It’s a fantastic way for those working in the industry to contribute and to help make sure the outcome is right. This is the industry’s opportunity to shape the future of the qualifications and ensure they’re relevant in the years ahead.”

The SIA is working and consulting with the private security industry in far greater depth this time. It has created Expert Working Groups for each of the specialist areas that it needs to develop content for qualifications. These groups are made up of top-scoring Approved Contractors, individual businesses and subject specialists. The Regulator will be working with them to design the new qualifications and develop quality measures designed to improve the delivery of training.

A significant change for this review is that the SIA is developing a strategic approach in partnership with the private security industry that will drive a broader skills agenda. Here, it will be considering career paths, the development of a new apprenticeship framework and that all-important topic of Continuing Professional Development. The overriding aim is to create a structure of learning and development in partnership with the private security industry that will help security to become a career of choice.

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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