In September 2018, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) – the regulator of the private security industry in the UK – announced its review of the skills and qualifications required to be licensed to work in the UK’s private security industry.
We have begun a wide-ranging review of the licence-linked qualifications needed for the private security industry.
The current specifications will expire in December 2019 and the new qualifications will be available from January 2020. The review will examine the licence-linked qualifications, ensuring that they are fit for purpose. We are future-proofing them so that they are in line with private security industry working practice; to withstand new risks that might emerge and technological changes.
Scope of SIA Review
The review occurs every five years and a significant change for this review is that we have widened its scope. It will consider the mandatory qualifications and any further training required to be licensed as well as developing a strategic approach in collaboration with the private security industry. The aim is to work with others to help drive the broader skillsagenda, considering career paths, the development of a new apprenticeship framework and continuing professional development.
Learning and development for security
One aim of the project is to create a structure of learning and development in partnership with the private security industry that will help it to become a career of choice. The review also looks to ensure that there are robust assessment and quality assurance arrangements in place for the licence-linked qualifications. This will further assure us of the integrity of the qualifications and help us to reduce instances of training malpractice.
Working with industry to raise standards
Crucial to the success of this project is the engagement of industry and stakeholders.
Steve McCormick, our Director of Operations and Standards, says: “This is a very important piece of work because we have a statutory responsibility to raise standards in the private security industry. Our aim is to improve the professionalism of security operatives, drive standards in the industry, and help to protect the public in the UK.
“I believe that we can facilitate the development of a new set of qualifications to raise standards over time. We will also help to better define career paths and opportunities for those joining the workforce. This will assist the industry to improve the standards of service delivery, and help with recruitment and retention.”
The path to a new set of qualifications
There are several milestones to achieve this; the first one is the development of the content of the specialist qualifications required.
An initial consultation – which is an integral part of the development of the draft qualification specifications – has been running since September and has now concluded. To date, more than 840 people have participated in the consultation.
As part of the consultation process we have formed working partnerships with people from industry called expert working groups. These groups are made up of representatives from companies who are approved contractors, individual businesses and subject specialists drawn from each of the specialist areas to develop the content for the qualifications. The members of these forums made a significant contribution to the creation of the draft qualification specifications.
Another milestone that we are delivering on is the research programme that has been conducted by IFF Research, who had the brief to investigate the characteristics, working methods and what the future of private security will look like. The research comprised a qualitative and quantitative methodology and sought the opinions of a broad range of private security operatives, and focus groups with security businesses and consultation with expert stakeholders. The findings of the research are currently being reviewed.
Tony Holyland, our Head of Quality and Standards, says: “Employers and prospective operatives spend a considerable sum of money each year on these qualifications, and they need to be fit for purpose. We can achieve this only with the help of the private security industry.”
Following this primary consultation, the specifications will be re-drafted. The feedback from the research will also be included in the refreshed qualification specifications. The expert working groups will be asked to review them and the feedback will be captured. We will be working with them to design the new qualifications and develop quality measures to improve the delivery of training. The new version of the specifications will be made available to the public again for comment from December until the end of January.
The approach which we have taken will give us a broad and deep insight into the skills needs of the industry. Our aim is to improve the professionalism of security operatives, drive standards in the industry, and help to protect the public in the UK.
Security Industry Authority
The Security Industry (SIA) is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK.