Brian Sims

Security Industry Authority issues Annual Report and Accounts for 2021-2022

THE SECURITY Industry Authority’s (SIA) Annual Report and Accounts for the period 1 April 2021 through to 31 March 2022 have been published. The 116-page document sets out the SIA’s key achievements during the year under review and provides an appraisal of the organisation’s financial position.

During 2021-2022, the regulator has revoked 1,049 licences while granting 159,136, issued 124 warnings and refused 1,362 applications. 89% of licence applications were processed within 25 working days. There are 445,598 active licences. A total of 35 offences were uncovered in relation to individuals undertaking licensable activities without a current licence to do so.

Some 5.910 intelligence and other reports of concern were received by the SIA. 39 cases progressed towards a criminal prosecution, with 85% of prosecutions leading to a conviction.

In terms of the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), 56 new businesses were approved to join the register. As such, there are now 827 Approved Contractors. In the wake of 706 site inspections/visits, 20 businesses were found to be non-compliant and had their ACS accreditation duly removed. 96% of eligible businesses successfully renewed their ACS status.

Financial overview

The SIA’s operating surplus was £3.0 million. That’s £1.4 million below the prior year (a surplus of £4.4 million). This was £4.9 million above the forecasted deficit of £1.9 million. Without the licence fee rebate scheme, the surplus would have been £3 million greater.

The £3.0 million surplus was predominantly driven by increased demand for licences and an underspend in staffing costs, as well as other costs as the pandemic also continued to have an impact on some areas of spend. In addition, efficiencies of £0.5 million have been achieved.

Licensing income for the year was £28.5 million (ie 5% above the initial forecast of £27 million). The SIA Board agreed a prudent view should be adopted when setting the budget in respect of the licence demand forecast. This was based on the ongoing uncertainty surrounding further COVID-19 lockdowns, the volatile nature of demand behaviour in previous periods and also due to the possibility that the planned changes to the training requirements for new applicants – and, indeed, those renewing – could significantly disrupt demand levels.

View from the chair and CEO

In a joint Foreword, SIA chair Heather Baily QPM and CEO Michelle Russell paint an extremely positive picture of the year under review.

“This was a year in which demand for private security began to return to normality and the industry responded to the gradual lifting of restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As we, too, emerged from the series of lockdowns that marked 2021-2022, we remained united in our focus on public protection as the heart of everything we do. We re-dedicated ourselves to our core activities. Our people and office-based teams were able to meet in person for the first time in many months, our regional inspection and enforcement officers increased their visibility to the industry as shuttered venues opened and we were able to meet and engage with business leaders and individual operatives at a series of industry events.”

The joint statement continues: “Performance this year, set against a challenging background, was exceptionally high. We processed a record number of licence applications and faced – and successfully met – unprecedented service demand. We also set and exceeded our efficiency savings target of over half a million pounds. We delivered on the major commitments in our business plan. We launched new licence-linked qualifications standards for door supervisors and security officers at the beginning of the year. We followed this with major top-up training changes, including First Aid training.”

In addition, the Foreword reads: “A new Skills Board was set up to assist in the professionalisation of the industry. As the year closed, we were preparing to launch enhanced qualifications for close protection operatives. This work to increase the skills of every licensed operative through strengthened training and qualifications is a crucial component in increasing public trust and confidence in the industry. This trust is critical to delivering on our commitment to improved public protection.”

Immediate future

Looking ahead, Baily and Russell state: “We will maintain our focus on public protection through efficient and intelligent dedication to our core regulatory work. This means further improvements to our licensing processes and digital systems to make our services easier to access for customers and increasing our compliance and enforcement work. We will also continue to transform and challenge ourselves and the industry to be agile and fit for the future. We will listen to and engage with the industry as we do so.”

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