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IPSA at Security TWENTY 13

For a full report and photos of the Professional Security magazine debut conference and exhibition, Security TWENTY 13, see the May print issue of the magazine. Meanwhile, here is a taste below.

Fewer than 800 responses were received to the Home Office’s public consultation on the future regulatory regime for the private security industry. The two-month consultation, which ran between November 2012 and January 2013, sought views on the government’s preferred option for reforming industry regulation “through a transition to a business regulation regime”.

The Home Office intends publishing a summary of the responses later this year and the consultation document was developed in partnership with industry representatives via a strategic consultation group, chaired by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

However, Mike White, Chairman of the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) has suggested that 776 responses were obtained and condemned the figure as “appalling. When group responses from the various trade associations are taken into account, it’s fewer than the present number of Approved Contractor Scheme companies and showed tremendous apathy for this once in a lifetime opportunity for the industry to give its views”.

Speaking at the Security TWENTY 13 conference in Birmingham, on March 27, he told delegates: “I don’t think the industry will get what it needs. There is resistance to change – politicians are not sufficiently engaged and the industry is still too insular and fragmented. There are no clear ideas around the future of training and standards development, while in-house security and consultants will still be outside the scope of regulation.”

Earlier during the conference, SIA Chief Executive Bill Butler conversely described the level of response as “very significant numbers of people, including businesses, buyers, individuals, police and charities”. He said a formal response was due in May or early June, adding that the industry would have more involvement in training and qualification standards in future. He also flagged up the potential for a voluntary two-level manned guarding accreditation scheme to replace the current ACS.

Butler declared that the SIA’s costs have been reduced and that it is already acting to reduce operating costs and lower the licence fee before the new regulatory framework is introduced. The timetable for that includes business regulation approvals starting from April 2014, he anticipates. But Mike White of IPSA warned the conference that he expects “tremendous slippage on the timetable”, noting that ‘phase two reforms’ such as changes to the status of the SIA and enhanced enforcement powers for it will require new (primary) legislation. The Home Office says there is no currently no date for when new legislation will be ready.

“Primary legislation is needed; it wasn’t sexy last time around, in 2001, and it isn’t now either,” said White. “The Private Security Industry Act 2001 went through in the last session of parliament before the general election that year, which could mean we’ll be in exactly the same position in 2014. I also believe that the SIA’s aim of reducing costs to the industry ‘as a whole’ is a worry for small to medium sized security companies. Nevertheless, there are some welcome moves afoot. For example, the regulator is committed to further developing its relationship with the industry and that is a positive step.”


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