The speech by the Chairman of the Security Industry Authority (SIA), Baroness Ruth Henig, on looking at the future direction of the regulated security industry, at the Annual SIA conference on the fourteenth of June 2010 was both welcome and timely, writes Logue Corporate Principal and Infologue.com Editor. This is a significant opportunity for all stakeholders to develop a blueprint for the creation of a modern and vibrant security industry that is beneficial. The SIA Chief Executive, Bill Butler, said that whilst the SIA could create the environment, it was the industry, with the assistance of the SIA, that needed to become the change driver. Surprisingly, we have not heard any public response from any of the major players of the industry to this innovative offer. However, if the security industry is to capitalise on this initiative, a vision of what a great industry looks like should be created, enabling the development of building blocks to achieve this ambition.
In his closing speech at the SIA conference, Bill Butler said; “I’m going to say one thing that we are not going to do and this is something that we said originally we were going to do. I’d like to think that I may have said it differently but at the outset we said we were going to create a golden age in the industry where pay goes up where there’s limit-less opportunities for people to do work. I think that over time the standard and the approach of the industry can improve but I think that was an unrealistic promise to make and regardless of what we have said in the past I am taking it back. This is about what the industry does and the improvements that have taken place over the last few years are things that you have done. I like to think we create the environment, I like to think we help but the reason there are more women working in the industry, that there’s more professionalism and there can be conversations about creating an effective profession for the industry, the fact that there is recognition of the standards that the industry create and better partnership with the police, I could go on, is because of what you in the industry have done to take things forward. We want to carry on helping you do that but that’s what you do – that’s your success.”
In her speech Ruth Henig said; “To move forward in tacking these areas of improvement, and others, we will need to work closely with our partners, and with private security industry businesses, to discuss how we can share regulatory responsibilities effectively and to mutual benefit. This is the time to start planning for, and working towards, greater empowerment and lighter touch regulation for those working in the private security industry. We would like to see key industry figures and organisations, such as the Security Institute, BSIA and Skills for Security, to name but a few, as well as individual companies, joining in the discussions, leading the drive for higher standards and for innovation. This means working with the SIA to explain to Parliamentarians, civil servants and to those who work in the industry how regulation in the industry will evolve, and helping to achieve the goals we will all hopefully be united in pursuing. You can all help the SIA to move forward, building on the benefits of regulation which have been achieved so far, and working together to drive forward a joint agenda of professionalisation of the industry and of higher skill levels and continuous training for those who work within it.”
My comments in the June Editorial of Infologue.com, ENERGISING THE SECURITY INDUSTRY, underpins the opening paragraph of this month’s editorial; “It is my belief that one of the flaws in the industry is our wish to create today tomorrow, in other words we are always one step behind. It is my opinion that the current approach of our industry is to examine challenges on a piecemeal basis instead of adopting a holistic approach. Examples include skills development, the Working Time Directive and company differentiation. My belief is that a holistic approach is adopted where security industry best process, practice and output is identified. This will give all stakeholders of the security industry a vision of excellence instead of focussing on minimum requirements. From this vision, standards, skill levels and other “items” on the industry’s shopping list could flow. Part of this approach would require the regulator, the Security Industry Authority to give more weight to their relationships with the security industry trade bodies on industry matters. The trade organisations would in turn have to ensure its positions are fully mandated by its membership.” Before we can move forward we as an industry need to created this vision.
There are some outstanding legacy issues that require resolution such as the In House issue, Cutting Red Tape and other issues raised by Brian Sims the editor of SMT Online and myself in the award winning campaign, FOUR ISSUES ONE VOICE.