Small Business Network celebrates 10th Anniversary with campaign to enhance standards in security sector

Abbey Petkar

Abbey Petkar

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.

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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