Quality assuring private security training

We began the skills and qualifications review at the beginning of September to review the criteria required for our licence-linked qualifications. We do this every five years so that the skills criteria are kept current.

This month, our Quality and Risk Manager, Tracey Lilley, discusses the skills and qualifications review and about the importance of this opportunity for the industry to share its views to ensure a robust assessment processes within the private security industry.

Our blog aims to discuss developments in the private security industry and to provide further insight and opinion on our work. We look forward to having an on-going discussion with you; please share your comments and opinions.

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I’m a Quality & Risk Manager at the SIA. My role includes liaising with the awarding organisations on the delivery, assessment and quality assurance of the qualifications required for an SIA licence. We have contracts with all the awarding organisations who approve training providers to deliver licence-linked qualifications across the UK.  Training providers are quality assured by the awarding organisations, who are themselves quality assured by the qualification regulators and by us.

A big part of my work has been the development of a comprehensive quality improvement plan designed to support both the awarding organisations and their training centres. This plan is designed to continually improve the way in which the qualifications required for an SIA licence are delivered and assessed.

Our relationship with the awarding organisations and training providers has developed a great deal over the last year.  We now work more effectively together with improved identification, coordination and management of training malpractice.

A key component of the improvement plan involves the introduction of a new initiative of   unannounced visits to training centres delivering qualifications required for an SIA licence. These visits will give us the opportunity to see training being delivered, speak to learners, and observe assessments. Visits will start from the beginning of 2019, so don’t be surprised to see me or my colleagues popping in to observe training and assessments being delivered.

Skills and Qualifications Review
As most of you will be aware, we have begun a wide-ranging review of the licence-linked qualifications needed for the private security industry. We have widened the scope of this work to consider not just the mandatory qualifications we require, but how to support the industry to address the skills and knowledge needed by operatives throughout their careers across the private security industry.

One key element of this review is to make sure that robust assessment processes exist to ensure the integrity of the qualifications achieved. This will further assure us of the integrity of the qualifications and help us to reduce instances of training malpractice.

We have set up expert working groups consisting of representatives from all the awarding organisations and subject matter specialists from the security sectors we regulate.

One group was designed to review the current assessment and quality assurance measures and look at ways of strengthening these to ensure they continue to meet the needs of their relevant sector, protect the public, and are future-proof for the next 5 years.

At our first meeting the following recommendations were discussed and are being considered:

  • CCTV Practical – some short answer questions to ensure full knowledge of all elements if it is not possible to demonstrate them all fully
  • Conflict Management – move away from multiple choice questions to practical assessment. This is better suited to the content and can also be a way of assessing a learner’s ability to speak English
  • Working in the private security industry – some practical assessment around communication skills
  • Working as a Door Supervisor – some practical assessment around searching and report writing
  • Working as a Security Guard – some practical assessment around searching and report writing, plus use of radios
  • English Language requirements – We discussed using a standardised pre-entry English language competency test, and all agreed this would be an option to pursue.

We have held further discussions with our experts to consider the findings from our first consultation on the specifications for learning and qualifications, along with the research we conducted to understand the current and future skills needs of the private security industry in the UK.

All of this invaluable feedback and opinion will feed into the next draft of our specifications for learning and qualifications. The expert working group will again provide valuable insight on this.

We will be consulting for a final time on the new specifications in January 2019. Please keep an eye out for this, as it will be your last opportunity to help shape the qualifications and to ensure they stay relevant for your industry in the years ahead.

The Review of the SIA Published by the Home Office – What is to Come

This month our chief executive talks about the Home Office’s review of the SIA. He discusses the important role the private security industry plays in public safety.

This blog exists to discuss developments in the private security industry and to provide further insight and opinion on our work. Please share your comments and opinions and engage in an on-going discussion with us.

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On the 7th June the Home Office published the tailored review (formerly known as a triennial review) for the SIA. You can find it here.

For a number of reasons the review has been a long time coming. But now it is here, we welcome its publication and the important contribution the private security industry has made to its recommendations.

The private security industry is a thriving sector covering a range of services, many of which have a direct bearing on public safety. We are all used to seeing private security operatives in our everyday lives in shopping centres, pubs, leisure facilities, industrial settings and at events.

The review recognises the vital role the private security industry plays in public protection and national security. It also affirms that there is a clear need for regulation in the industry. The review acknowledges the role of the SIA in raising standards and our contribution to safeguarding, public protection and national security.

Many of the recommendations of this review reflect the SIA’s published priorities, some of which we are already delivering successfully. For example, we continue to focus on further reducing violence and criminality. As part our drive to improve standards and strengthen the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) we have recently completed a comprehensive review of the ACS. The outcomes of this review will be implemented in the spring of 2019.

Going forward we will be reviewing the qualifications and training of those working in the industry to further improve knowledge and skills to facilitate even more effective protection of the public.

The heightened security threats from terrorism in recent years have served to bring a sharper focus on the role that private security can play and whether its capabilities are being used by the state to the fullest potential.

We have been facilitating greater collaboration between the counter terrorism (CT) law enforcement community and the large numbers of security operatives in areas such as door supervision, guarding and CCTV. We are also exploring with the CT community how the private security industry can be better equipped with knowledge and skills to reduce the threat to the public from a terrorist attack.

A key part of our plan remains the delivery of excellent services at the lowest possible cost. We strive to keep fees for those we regulate as low as possible and have reduced our costs by 27% since 2010. Further efficiencies have enabled us to keep the licence fee at £220 over the last six years, despite costs rising with inflation. We have recently moved to a joint Government Hub and will continue to seek efficiencies. We are currently working with the Home Office to review fee levels.

We are aligned with the review in continuing to take an even more risk-based approach to regulation with a sharper focus on non-compliant individuals and businesses, placing less of a regulatory burden where standards have been met or exceeded.

We will work with the Home Office and Devolved Administrations to implement all parts of this review that the Government wishes to take forward. We also stand ready to take on any additional areas of regulation, should the Government ask us to do so.

Ultimately our work is dependent on partnership not just with the police and other public bodies, but with the industry itself. We seek, and continue to benefit from, the support and cooperation of those working in the private security industry and our many partners to provide effective regulation. We are grateful for that support and cooperation.

As we look to the future we look forward to continuing to work with the private security industry and our partners to deliver high quality regulation and public protection.