The Small Business Network (SBN) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with the launch of a campaign designed to stamp out poor business practice and enhance professionalism across the security business sector. The organisation, which exists to lobby its own members as well as Government on issues directly affecting the sector, is highlighting the challenges of licensing all security solution providers.
“We face a grave challenge as an industry,” commented Abbey Petkar, press officer for the SBN and managing director of Magenta Security Services. “The Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) is a great one, but it’s voluntary, which means that only around 20% of UK-based security companies are currently being audited. This means we have a two-tier system in operation. At the top are those companies voluntarily undergoing rigorous assessments of their business practices. They’re not just professional, but are also willing to demonstrate that professionalism through third party checks. At the other end of the scale are rogue operators – uninsured companies paying less than the Minimum Wage and not meeting pension requirements. The list goes on.”
With approximately 80% of security providers not committing to the ACS, the SBN is quick to point out that not all of those organisations are unprofessional in their approach. However, the lobbying group is campaigning for alternative systems that will allow for more organisations to undergo audits and business checks.
“We’re currently investigating an alternative to the full ACS,” outlined Petkar. “Perhaps lower cost of entry and a less burdensome audit is what’s needed here, but there must still be a clear demonstration that the company in question is committed to professionalism and expects to become fully ACS audited in due course.”
The SBN believes that end user buyers of security services – ie the readers of Risk UK – have an obligation to check the quality of their suppliers and sees part of its role as the education of host businesses to achieve that very aim.
“You wouldn’t hire a lawyer or an accountant without checking their credentials, so the same should be true when it comes to purchasing the services and solutions of a security company,” concluded Petkar when speaking about the SBN’s campaign to improve industry licencing.
Also continually lobbying its members and Government on methods to respond to and overcome key issues in the security business sector, the SBN has been true to its core values since it first launched on 8 January 2008.