04/11/2011 – NDW believe new licensing proposals are a cause for concern
On the 12th of October National Doorwatch (NDW) attended the the SIA conference (part 2) in Sheffield. In the morning session the conference focus was on the impact of the proposed changes on busnesses, individuals, and the Approved Contractor Status (ACS) scheme.
The government, through the SIA, outlined that they would be introducing compulsory licensing for all those businesses involved in security provision. This would of course potentially generate additional revenue for the government. The government will further reduce their costs, by streamlining the internal processes and devolving responsibility back to the newly licensed business.
What this means to you
What this means in reality, is all newcomers to the industry would have to apply to the SIA via a licensed business or a mediated access partner (MAP), such as the Post Office. Consequently the SIA would no longer be the first point of contact for applicants, once they had commenced the licensing process. From that point the applicant would have to go through either the employer or the MAP. This will inevitably result in an administrative charge being required for this service. The going rate for this type of service can be anything between £25 and £50 plus VAT. If going through these organisations was mandatory the charge may be higher. This cost will have to sit on top of the licence fee. This may result in you paying more rather than less..
Potential for abuse
Whilst there are undoubtedly many professional companies who would provide a superb service; there are far too many who will let the system down. It is already common practice for some security companies to deduct all their own running costs (licence, insurance, uniform, training, etc) from the individuals weekly wage. They achieve this through the cynical manipulation of the individual employees general lack of knowledge of their legal rights and responsibilities. This allows these companies to create a false market, which depresses wages, impacts on public safety, and makes responsible companies look bad. Hence the need for business licensing to create a level playing field.
Good news for renewals
The good news is the proposals for the renewal process should should at least make things much simpler and quicker. The new legislation will allow the SIA to change the way it does business. At present a renewal is in effect a reapplication, which makes things overly complicated. The new legislation will also mean they can also actually change the way it gathers evidence on a form. (At present, they can legally, only use the existing formThe other notable benefit will the use of new and emerging technolgy to deliver a better service. Finally it is expected that your badge (proof of licence token) will need to have the photo renewed every 5 years.
Over reliance on intelligence
The main concern is the proposals rely far too much on intelligence-led risk assessment models as a mechanism for enforcement. At present the proposed system is open to abuse, and therefore it will be abused. One of the biggest flaws in the current system is the lack of incentive for anyone to report anyone for malpractice throughout the licensing process. At present there are no details as to how any of the proposals will be enforced in the future, and how that will impact on public safety.