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SIA announces changes to security guard licensing system

Since its launch in 2003, the Security Industry Authority (SIA)'s licensing system has certified more than 1.25 million individuals to provide front line and non-front line security services in the UK.

It has also at times been the subject of controversy, perhaps most notably in a recent BBC sting which saw undercover reporters for the Inside Out programme obtain licences by handing over cash to corrupt training providers in lieu of passing exams.

The incident prompted the British Security Industry Association to warn businesses to work with only the most reputable members of the trade, exercising caution when hiring staff and handing out new contracts.

The SIA licensing system is set to be modernised and streamlined before the end of the year, however, and the updates should make it much simpler and more transparent for security professionals and their employers to manage, renew and share information about SIA licenses.

After announcing the plans in February, the regulatory body has now revealed more about the upcoming changes.

For individuals

In the second half of 2015, the SIA will launch a new range of online services so that all applications for new licences, as well as renewals of existing ones, go through a single self-service portal on the web. New applicants will need to have their identification documents verified at a participating post office, but otherwise, the entire process will take place via the internet. Users will be able to access real-time information on the current stage of their application in the licensing process, as well as receive alerts when their expiration date is near.

For approved contractors

Companies that are part of the SIA's approved contractor scheme will have two new tools at their disposal, helping them to ensure that staff keep on top of applications and renewals, and that clients therefore receive the highest possible standard of service.

These are Licence Assist, which will allow companies to complete and pay for applications on their employees' behalf and maintain up-to-date records on licence approvals and renewals, and Licence Management, which will provide contractors with the opportunity to carry out and endorse their own identity checks and manage the licences of their staff.

For all organisations

The ability to pay for individuals' licences will be extended to non-approved contractors and other organisations, too, although the application itself will still need to be completed by the employee. Furthermore, the SIA plans to retire the bulk paper application service, ensuring that all licensees outside of the approved contractor scheme are processed individually.

More information on these changes will be made available in due course, the SIA says.

Want to learn more about the SIA licensing system? Get in touch with Storm Operative Security - not only are our personnel qualified to the highest professional standard, but we can also provide security training for your staff to fulfil requirements 1 and 2 of the SIA licence.


Posted by Andrew Miller

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