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DWP morning for recruiters

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) building at Five Ways in Birmingham was the venue on February 6 for a briefing morning for security recruiters and employers, Mark Rowe reports.

Pictured after the event are left to right. Front: Amerjit Kaur and Donna Farley; and from DWP Andrea Mills and Gaynor Smith. Back, Clare Fentham (Mercury Training), Andy Tibbitts (DWP), Paul Lawton-Jones (Mercury), Rohit Behl (Lodge Service), Pauline Jones, Wendy Anderson and Anne Gemmell (DWP).

The DWP used the morning to urge employers to ‘have a conversation’ with the Department.

Andrea Mills opened the morning with a welcome and description of Universal Credit (UC) which is replacing Jobseeker’s Allowance. Whereas under the old style benefit a job-seeker would only be allowed to work for up to 16 hours – any more, and they would have their benefit stopped – now under UC someone has a working allowance. As the UC assessment period is one month – claims depend on income and circumstances – it is essential, she said, for employers to report payments to staff on time. She stressed that DWP is happy to support employers and give guidance.

Anne Gemmell covered the Disability Confident scheme, launched in 2013 by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, with the aim of getting more people into work, and with the point that employers might be missing out on some talent with disabilities or health conditions. Employers can sign up to the voluntary scheme.

As an aside, among the security and facilities management sector employers of the thousands generally that have signed up are Cordant, Cougar Monitoring, GSL Dardan, Lodge Service, Securitas UK, The SES Group, Ward Security, VINCI Facilities and Securigroup.

And under the Access to Work scheme, if you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can ask to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace, and apply for Government money if you need extra help to adjust to work. That could mean a support worker, special equipment of fares for people who cannot access public transport.

One example suggested for the security industry was for an alarm receiving centre (ARC) or control room, that could employ someone in a wheelchair – if the building were easily accessible.

The morning closed with Paul Lawton-Jones, MD of Mercury Training, opening the floor for employers to discuss recruiting with the DWP. Mercury, with the support of the DWP, offers a free recruitment service for SIA badged and fully trained candidates; more in the March 2019 print issue of Professional Security magazine. Among the issues aired were whether it would help on all sides – given that badged security staff had options to choose positions and types of security – for a superviser or site manager to show candidates ‘a day in the life’ of a security officer. so that applicants gained work experience. For example, besides the variety of security work – besides site guarding and door work, it could be loss prevention, alarm receiving, data mining – a lot of IT might be involved.

Employers and DWP went away each with a better understanding with the common aim of placing the right people in teams.

About Mercury Training Services

Hockley, Birmingham-based Mercury offers security and related courses, such as in first aid, health and safety; level three diplomas in business administration, and security superviser team leader; a level five diploma for ops managers; and a level two apprenticeship in customer services for security staff. Visit


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