Brian Sims
Editor

IPSA publishes findings of Approved Contractor Scheme survey

THE INTERNATIONAL Professional Security Association (IPSA) has published the findings of its “pioneering survey” conducted across the last four months in a determined bid to understand the “true value” of the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS).

Having been approached by multiple members and organisations who have moved to challenge the perceived benefits of the voluntary scheme delivered by the industry regulator, IPSA launched the survey to gauge the true impact of the ACS on security organisations and their front line officers.

There was also a stated desire to capture the views of the sector in order to help determine the future trajectory of the ACS and find out how the scheme could perhaps be made more beneficial for companies and their personnel.

Following the conclusion of the survey, IPSA representatives then met with those of the SIA to share an overview of the survey results and initiate a dialogue underpinned by the industry’s feedback on the ACS as it stands at present.

Una Riley, CEO at IPSA, explained: “I’m personally thankful that the SIA has facilitated and welcomed this review of the ACS. The survey responses and the subsequent analysis of them are not only pivotal to IPSA’s engagement with its members and the wider sector, but also for the SIA’s work aimed at keeping pace with evolving needs of our industry. We’re confident that the ACS will remain an invaluable asset to us all. The survey results enhance that belief, both in terms of what the ACS offers and its importance.”

While the SIA has declined to comment on the survey findings, IPSA remains “hopeful” that the regulator will use the results to better understand and cater for the needs of security companies and professionals alike.

Notable observations

The ACS-focused survey was undertaken by 114 individuals from more than 75 organisations, of which 32% are current registered members of the ACS, while 4% of the remaining respondents have been ACS registered in days gone by.

One of the notable observations from the survey results is that the majority of survey respondents invested in the ACS for business or personal growth opportunities, with very few doing so for the purposes of quality management. Upwards of 50% of current ACS registered businesses that took part in the survey believe that the scheme does meet their expectations.

Having been asked for their opinions on how they feel about ACS companies only being able to sub-contract to other ACS companies, 38.5% of respondents believe this to be an advantage, while 25.6% feel it’s not a favourable restriction.

70% of respondents who have submitted a complaint about the ACS to regulator deem the process to be ‘not easy’ and 59% suggested that the resolution offered to their complaint was not satisfactory.

59% of respondents didn’t know that ACS companies are allowed to supply security operatives before their licence cards have been issued, while 52% believe that this course of action could impact their businesses.

Code of Ethics

72% of respondents believe that the ACS has a strict Code of Ethics with which they need to comply as a registered company. 38% of those who took part in the survey have had an ACS investigation team make unannounced visits to their premises to assess the security services being delivered.

In line with the goals and values of the ACS, 66% of the survey respondents believe that the Terms and Conditions issued by all ACS registered companies are approved by the SIA and, therefore, meet ethical and fair practices when it comes to trading.

Importantly, 59% of survey respondents hold the perception that an ACS registered business “guarantees” a higher standard of security operatives.

The IPSA survey has yielded great insight on key aspects of the ACS which add direct value to security organisations. It has also brought areas ripe for improvement very much to the fore such that they can be addressed and implemented for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

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