Following a meeting attended by representatives of the SIA, the Small Business Network (SBN) is calling for a rethink on licensing for security firms.
“We want to work closely with the SIA to make sure our industry is presented in the best way possible,” comments Abbey Petkar, managing director of Magenta Security Services and press officer for the SBN. “Following a review of the current ACS system, we believe the SIA has chosen a difficult route that could make the licensing situation in the UK worse than it already is. Based on a very small sample of organisations, this decision could make it easier for rouge operators to undercut legitimate security providers, damaging our credibility as an industry.”
The decision has been made following just 650 individual responses to an industry wide survey. According to information on the SIA website 50% of respondents called for an overhaul of the ACS to include a tiered system, whilst 50% wanted to keep the current system. Based on the fact that there are about 4,800 security organisations in the UK employing vast numbers of people, the final decision only represents about 325 people out of tens of thousands of individuals who will be affected. Whilst the response rate is considered good for a government survey, the SBN believes that such an important decision should be made on more data. Some individuals also believe the ACS is likely to become harder to achieve moving forward, making it more difficult for smaller and new businesses to demonstrate their quality and professionalism.
“An opportunity has been missed here. There was a chance to shake things up instead of sticking to the status quo, which many believe is a failing system. Instead of listening to the market and considering the merits of a tiered system, we run the risk of going backwards,” continues Abbey. “Small professional companies, many of which represent the future of the industry are not being heard. At a time when we are trying to professionalise the industry and ensure customers recognise our value, we are having our integrity chipped away by cowboy security firms. A tiered system would provide chances to engage with more people and get them involved with the industry from the ground up.”
The SBN believes that buyers of security services have an obligation to check the quality of their suppliers and sees part of their role as the education of businesses to achieve this. “As we have said before – you wouldn’t hire a lawyer or accountant without checking their credentials, the same should be true of a security company and we are looking to make that process easier. However, with its latest plans, the SIA could have made a mistake and be pushing away the people that represent the future of our industry. Now is the time to be more inclusive – not more elite.” concludes Abbey.
Individuals and organisations wishing to know more about the SBN should contact Abbey Petkar at Magenta Services via 0845 500 0786.