Brian Sims

Skills Board focuses on driving higher levels of professionalism in UK security

A NEW Skills Board has been launched by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the City Security Council (CSC) in order to address the need for higher standards of professionalism in the private security industry.

The Skills Board will consult with and comprise senior leaders and security professionals from across the industry. Together, they will agree on strategic priorities and commit to deliver what is hoped to be transformational change in support of all those working in the industry.

The Board is chaired by Jason Towse (managing director of business services at Mitie), while the vice-chair is Gemma Quirke, chief operating officer of Wilson James. It will be managed and administered jointly by the SIA and the CSC.

Jason Towse commented: “For some time now, the need to address the level of skills and competencies has been a common theme discussed throughout the industry. We need to change perceptions about the quality and standard of the service we provide, and particularly so if we wish to attract high calibre people and demonstrate the long-term futures that exist within the industry.”

Towse continued: “With improved continuous learning and professional development structures in place, we will not only show the added value of security businesses, but we will confidently and consistently deliver security at a higher level. I firmly believe the industry must drive change from within and we can only do this effectively if we collaborate and all agree on how best to set the future direction of travel.”

In addition, Towse explained: “We want to hear as many views as possible from across the private sector security industry in order to help us agree the best course of action. As a Skills Board that collectively represents the voice of the industry, we will be strongly placed to influence Government to gain support and funding for the skills development of the private security industry.”

Significant opportunity

Steve McCormick, the SIA’s director of licensing and standards, stated: “This is a significant opportunity for the private security industry. It’s exciting to see senior leaders come together to join the Skills Board and invest their resources in driving forward skills development as part of professionalising the industry.”

He added: “The Skills Board will help to develop the industry’s capability, capacity and excellence for competency. We will be working with the Skills Board to support a strategic approach to skills development that will strengthen the contribution the industry makes to protecting the public and enhancing community safety, as well as increasing the ability of the industry’s employers to attract, develop and retain members of staff and further professionalise private security.”

Further, McCormick observed: “To discharge our regulatory responsibility to help the industry achieve higher standards, we need new ways of working with it to help bring about change and improvement. The Skills Board is a way of achieving that.”

Members of the new Skills Board will meet on a quarterly basis and lead on initiatives to enhance the private security industry, set new skills-related criteria and ensure that the industry has a voice.

Other members of the Skills Board are Sarah Cork (Bidvest Noonan), Alistair Sutherland (British Transport Police and the National Police Chiefs Council’s lead on the private security industry), Adrian White (Carlisle Support Services), Tracy Plant (CIS Security), Paul Lotter (Corps Security), Patrick Holdaway (National Business Crime Centre), Shaun Kennedy (Securitas), David Scott (Skills for Security) and Stuart Kedward (Universal Security).

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