SIA Update during Covid-19
On 28th April 2020, the Security Institute Chief Executive Rick Mounfield hosted a webinar discussion with Security Industry Authority (SIA) Chief Executive Ian Todd. Ian provided an update on the regulator’s response to the COVID-19 emergency and shared his observations on how the industry has risen to the challenges in these unprecedented times.
Establishing Key Worker Status for Security Officers
Ian spoke about the work required in March to establish which security officers could be classified as key workers. He thanked the Security Institute, the BSIA and others for their involvement. It was important that this was resolved quickly to enable those security officers supporting essential services to continue.
A complete definition is provided on the SIA website. In summary, ‘if you are providing essential security to a service which itself remains critical and functioning, which attracts critical worker status, then you are likely to be covered.’ This includes ‘security provision in hospitals; schools; social care; courts; government estate; supermarkets and the food supply chain; the transport network; national infrastructure and utilities.’ Additionally, ‘Roles essential to supporting law and order, with the potential to reduce demand on policing, also meet the critical worker definition. This would include, the guarding of empty or closed commercial, retail or office premises; the monitoring of similar through CCTV or other remote means; and the provision of alarm response centres including mobile units.’
The SIA works remotely
Ian explained how the SIA had to move very quickly to remote working including their customer service centre which is now an entirely distributed model. The SIA has changed its processes so that most people who are renewing their licence will not need to go to the Post Office to have their documents checked. Although some of these changes are temporary, Ian believes this has provided an opportunity to explore new ways of delivering services.
Time for the security sector to shine
Ian spoke about how this time is opportunity for the security sector to shine: public perception of the importance of different jobs is shifting and it turns out that some of the lowest paid jobs can be essential. Ian made reference to tweets from James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office and his support of the sector.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ian answered a number of detailed questions on applications to the SIA, training, the definition of key workers and applications for ACS and he highlighted that full details of these responses are available on the SIA website.
Security after Covid-19
In conclusion, Ian outlined how the shape of the security sector will be changed during these times: some companies will be stronger, some unfortunately will not survive. The response to Covid-19 is pushing the security sector forward culturally, in governance and delivery. It is providing an opportunity for a step-change and a new normal.
For latest information on the SIA response to the pandemic, a regularly updated FAQ document and advice to retailers hiring additional staff to manage queues and social distancing, please visit the SIA website: https://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx