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September 23, 2022

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IPSA shares security sector’s views on the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme

IFSEC Global hears from the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) as they share an overview from the results of their survey to understand the true value of the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS).

Conducted over last four months, IPSA launched the survey as an initiative to gauge the scheme’s true impact on security organisations and front-line officers. The survey also aimed to capture the views of the sector to help determine the scheme’s trajectory, and find out how it could be made more beneficial for both professionals and companies.

IPSA then met with the SIA to share an overview of the survey results and initiate a dialogue to review the industry’s feedback on the scheme, representing the front-line community and companies at large.

The survey was taken by 114 individuals from more than 75 organisations, of which 32% are current members of the ACS and 4% of the remaining respondents were members in the past – highlighting the variety of responses received and different perspectives given.

Una Riley, Chief Executive of IPSA said, “I am personally thankful that the SIA has facilitated and welcomed this review of the ACS. The survey responses and analysis are not only pivotal to IPSA’s engagement with its members and the wider sector, but also the SIA’s work to keep pace with evolving needs of our industry. We are confident the ACS will remain an invaluable asset to us all, and the survey results will only enhance that, both in offerings and importance.”

While the SIA declined to comment, IPSA is ‘hopeful’ they will use the survey results to better understand and cater to the needs of security companies and professionals alike.

One of the notable observations from the survey results was that the majority of survey takers invested in the ACS for business or personal growth opportunities, and very few for quality management purposes. This was followed by more than half of the current ACS members that took the survey feeling that the scheme met their expectations.

When asked for opinions on how they felt about ACS companies only being able to subcontract to other ACS companies, 38.5% of respondents believed it to be an advantage while 25.6% felt it was not a favourable restriction.

70% of the survey takers who had submitted a complaint with the ACS deemed the process ‘not easy’, and 59% felt that the resolution offered was ‘not satisfactory’.

59% of the survey takers did not know that ACS companies are allowed to supply security operatives before their licenses have been issued, and 52% believed that this course of action could impact their businesses.

On the other hand, 72% of respondents believe ACS has a strict code of ethics that they need to comply with as a member company, while 38% of the survey takers have had the ACS investigation team make unannounced visits to their premises to assess the services being delivered.

In line with ACS’ goals and values, 66% of the respondents believed that the terms and conditions issued by all the ACS companies are approved by the ACS itself, and therefore, meet ethical and fair-trading practices.

To summarise, 59% of survey takers hold the perception that an ACS company guarantees a higher standard of security operatives.

IPSA reported that the survey has provided ‘great insight’ into the aspects of the scheme which add direct value to security organisations, while it has also uncovered ‘areas for improvement’ so that they can be addressed and implemented for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

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