In this month’s blog our Chair, Elizabeth France, talks about the Strategic Forum and the Stakeholder Conference and the importance of us as a regulator engaging with and listening to the private security industry.
We hope you will engage in an on-going discussion with us; provide comments and share your opinions.
This month has been a good opportunity for me to hear directly from industry representatives, those we regulate, representatives of our partner organisations, and of government.
When I arrived at the SIA just over three years ago, there was a sense that change to our legal framework was just around the corner. The organisation had survived the test applied to ‘quangos’ and there had been a manifesto commitment to make the statutory amendments that would allow business licensing. Because change seemed to be imminent, a group had been set up which represented industry and the Home Office, under the chairmanship of the SIA to prepare for that change.
But the corner turned out to be a slow bend and the momentum of the group had inevitably slowed. We decided to draw a line, to pause and think about how to involve industry in our strategic thinking, whether within or beyond the current legal framework.
SIA Strategic Forum
On 2 March we held the first meeting of our new Strategic Forum. Before setting up the Strategic Forum, I was clear that I expected to see commitment from those who attended, while keeping some fluidity to the structure of the Forum. Attendance was 100% and everyone engaged in constructive discussion. By the end of the meeting we had identified areas where there is real opportunity to work together to achieve change.
This Strategic Forum is not an inner circle, or a club; it is just one of many ways we want to have conversations with the private security industry. Alongside this, I have a series of conversations arranged with individuals not currently on the group over the next few weeks.
SIA Stakeholder Conference
I have been reflecting on the fact that it’s good to talk. As a Regulator, perhaps it’s even more important to listen. Another opportunity we had to do this was on 14 March when we had our annual stakeholder conference. All I want to say here is that I thought it was our best (at least in my time).
Just as with the Strategic Forum, it was the quality of engagement that was so impressive. Not just the excellent presentations, the focused questions or the interactivity in the workshops, but also the opportunity taken for informal exchanges. I enjoyed the day, and others seemed to too.
Working in partnerships is what regulation is all about, so finishing the month as a guest speaker at a Security Awareness Special Interest Group (SASIG) seminar on equality and diversity in the security industry is brilliant. It’s an opportunity to talk, and to listen, to share experiences from within this industry – but also to hear from those whose experience elsewhere can help us to see how hurdles have been jumped already, and what benefits they have seen.
I am looking forward to continuing my many and varied conversations, not just with licence holders, but with suppliers, buyers of security and those who rely on a professional and appropriately trained private security industry. There is more that we can all do to promote partnership working to protect the public. As the tragic events of 22 March remind us, there is a clear and pressing need for us all to rise to the challenge.