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Buy security services on quality, not price, warns industry

Organisations that contract third parties to provide private security services should take pains to procure on the basis of quality rather than cost-effectiveness, or else risk supporting poor professional standards and damage to their business.

This is according to two major industry bodies, the Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS) and trade union UNI Europa, which last month published an updated edition of their Best Value Manual.

This document, which was co-funded by the European Commission and can be acquired in one of 14 languages via the web, outlines best practice in procuring a private security provider that offers both quality and a competitive price.

Speaking at the launch of the guide, which was held at a joint CoESS-UNI Europa workshop, CoESS president Marc Pissens explained that shrinking margins represent a growing problem for the industry. This is exacerbated by organisations' tendency to award contracts to the lowest bidder without carrying out due diligence with regards to its professional standards.

"Choosing security services based on quality and not just price may sound obvious, but it is not always the case, as an increasing number of security services provided to public and private authorities are awarded solely on costs," he commented.

"This undermines all efforts to improve the quality of the services being provided. Choosing quality means reinforcing citizens' trust in our services and our industry at large."

Reporting on the event, editor Bobby Logue cited alarming statistics on the propensity of security providers to cut corners in an effort to reduce their operational overheads. He said that some 60 per cent of licence holders in the UK regulated security industry do not renew their licences as and when regulations require.

In addition to emphasising high professional standards and the quality of services delivered, the updated Best Value Manual - which replaces a previous version published in 1999 - also highlights the importance of a provider offering fair working conditions to its employees and using ethically sound methods to attract new ones.

Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa's regional secretary, told attendees at the workshop that the current, ingrained approach to procurement on the basis of price has a "harmful and detrimental impact" on clients and employees alike.

"Choosing security services only based on price sends the wrong message and indirectly supports poor professional standards that are very damaging for the industry and its employees, who can easily become dissatisfied," he said.

The update comes a few months after Market Research Reports forecast that the importance of the private security sector will increase over the next few years, fuelled by developments like higher crime rates, new infrastructure projects across the globe and a large number of major world events.

It predicted that the market will witness double-digit growth in many emerging economies, including India, Saudi Arabia and China. Regions in which the sector is more mature, such as North America and Europe, will also see an increase in demand for security services.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

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