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The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has begun what it describes as a wide ranging review of the licence linked qualifications. The UK private security regulator has widened the scope of this work to consider not just the mandatory qualifications it requires, mainly for door staff, contract security guards and public space CCTV operators, but how to support the industry to address the skills and knowledge needed by operatives, over their careers and across the private security industry. The review will also look at assessment processes to ensure the integrity of the qualifications achieved.
Seeking the engagement of industry and stakeholders, the Authority is running a consultation exercise. This will include primary research interviews with hundreds of operatives; and focus groups with businesses and consultation with experts in the field. It will be completed by the end of 2019 and the new qualifications will be available in January 2020.
This review includes consideration of any refresher training that the SIA requires operatives to undergo. Every five years the SIA reviews the qualifications to ensure that they are still in line with industry working practice, new risks that might have emerged and technology changes.
Steve McCormick, SIA Director of Operations and Standards says: “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 help with recruitment and retention.”
McCormick added what the project has to deliver before the new qualifications become available in January 2020:
•Development of qualifications specifications;
•Research and consultation into the private security industry characteristics, working methods and emerging/future trends;
•Development of quality parameters for delivery of training; and
•Development of a skills strategy for the industry.
He said: “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 of you as possible will take part in the consultation. It’s a fantastic way for those of you working in the industry to contribute and to help to get this right. This is your opportunity to shape the future of the qualifications to ensure they are relevant for your industry in the years ahead.”
The SIA 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, other businesses and subject specialists. The SIA will be working with them to design the new qualifications and develop quality measures to improve the delivery of training.
The SIA speaks also of developing a strategic approach with the private security industry to drive a broader skills agenda. Here it will be considering career paths, the development of a new apprenticeship framework and continuing professional development; to help make private security become a career of choice.
Since the SIA began licensing in the mid-2000s more than two million licence-linked qualifications have been awarded. In the last five years around half a million people have taken the most recent version of qualifications. The SIA points out that this represents a significant investment; as around £20m is spent on licence-linked qualifications. Which every year, is a significant investment from the industry into individuals – investing in training to get people into the sector. It is therefore vital that the project takes account of all of the stakeholder needs and makes sure that it is the right sort of qualification for individuals, the Authority adds.