It’s good news that the Security Industry Authority (SIA) regulator has now taken some positive action by issuing an update on how the private security industry is able to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The virus pandemic is having a serious effect on the work of security companies and their workers, impacting on them in various ways. The SIA is are exploring various ideas which hopefully are designed to enable security companies to operate effectively during the crisis.
Training: -Under carefully controlled conditions, the SIA is piloting remote training for some licence-linked qualifications. The Regulator will be evaluating the pilot with a view to rolling this out more widely. This is to be done when they have some assurance that the systems of assessment are robust.
Annual assessments: In response to concerns raised by Approved Contractors, the SIA has extended all annual assessments by an initial three months. The extension will be reviewed at the end of this period. Approved Contractors due to pay fees in the next three months will be given up to three months to pay instead of the normal 21 days. Any Approved Contractors wishing to take advantage of this should contact the Regulator via their business account.
Applications for licencing – Individuals in Scotland applying for a licence have now been informed by Disclosure Scotland that they have now created an electronic application process in order to allow for disclosure applications to proceed. This allows licence applications to progress and decisions to be made as normal.
Starting from the 1 April here will be an SIA’s individual licence fee reduction for all sectors. The fee paid by applicants is to be reduced from £210 to £190. This applies to both new applicants and those renewing existing licences. Licence holders applying for an additional licence will pay 50% of the new reduced fee.
SIA Customer support team is available if you require help. You can contact them through the SIA online account or via the ‘contact us’ form on the SIA’s website. We are continuing to respond to business enquiries within 48 hours and responds usually within five working days.
The SIA are continuing to process new licence applications made through businesses using its Licence Management service and the Post Office remains as another access point for this but has some limitations.
Companies and individuals across the private security industry should not send any documents to the SIA as the Regulator’s offices are closed. Any documents already in the SIA’s possession are being stored safely and will be returned as soon as it’s safe to do so, but this may be some time off given the current climate. The SIA continues to work with its colleagues in the Disclosure and Barring Service and with its system suppliers to implement online methods for identity verification, to the appropriate standard, without relying on physical documents wherever possible.
Delays in providing on training and SIA licences can have a serious effect on security companies personnel recruitment and retention and with serious shortages of personnel due to the virus some security companies are finding it very difficult to maintain the need for sufficient security officers to fulfil their commitment.