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Mike has been in the security industry for well over 36 years. He started with the family business as a locksmith and alarm engineer and fitted more than 1,000 systems before moving on to own and run his own company. He later sold out to a NACOSS company and became a self-employed inspector for the SSAIB. Alongside inspecting, he taught alarm installation and locksmithing for T K Consultants of Bolton. For the last nine years of his official working life, Mike was employed by the NSI, working with the marketing team. His main contribution to the NSI regime was to visit most of the new applicants and help them get up to NSI requirement. Since reaching retirement at 65 he does a little consultancy and has written an installers handbook. As Mike says, "The industry has given me a good living for a lot of years
September 16, 2014

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Whitepaper: Multi-residential access management – The move to digital

Screening and Vetting Job Candidates to British Standard 7858

Masks with the theatre conceptFrom British Security Standards Explained, the forthcoming book by Mike Lynskey of Lynskey Associates. Aimed at anyone who surveys, specifies, installs or services security installations, it distils and explains the British Security Standards, offering hints and tips too. It is, says Mike, “the book I desperately needed when I started installing nearly 40 years ago and nobody has written – until now.”

The security industry has obviously evolved to protect and defend the public and their property (at a reasonable cost), so it does seem silly to then entrust this responsibility to people of a disreputable nature, even those with criminal records.

The security industry must therefore secure itself, which it does by screening and vetting all personnel to BS 7858, the industry’s accepted standard.

BS 7858 states in Section 3 General, 3.1: “The organisation should not employ individuals whose career or history indicates that they would be unlikely to resist the opportunities for illicit personal gain, or the possibilities of being compromised, or the opportunities for creating any other breach of security, which such employment might offer”.

Who should be screened?

All persons (full-time or part-time) with access to systems and records, including subcontractors who aren’t directly employed.

To be more precise, the following persons must be screened:

  • Owners, directors, partners, sleeping partners and shareholders holding more than 10% of the business
  • Managers, area managers, department managers, screening managers and staff
  • Installers and service crew
  • Any office supervisors and staff with access to customer and system records

Who is exempt from screening?

All persons that do not have access to systems and records – ie:

  • Subcontractors hired to lay out first-fix cables
  • Electricians hired to fit a fused spur
  • Joiners hired to fit shunt locks
  • Office staff without access to company records (ie, staff working in accounting or wages departments, people working in other trades, delivery drivers etc).

It is expected that these people would have no access to confidential customer details.

Rehabilitation of offenders

The industry fully understands that after an offender has paid his debt to society he/she should be allowed to get on with their life without prejudice.

However, the general public may not agree with this sentiment, despite any laws that say you can’t hold a person’s past record against them.

While the ex-offender has rights, so toohas the security company; it has the right to protect itself and its reputation.

If an installation company sends an ex-offender into someone’s property to install security systems, and the customer finds out, then the installing company is likely to lose that customer and incur reputational damage.

The bottom line

It doesn’t make one iota of difference what the law says, the public don’t want their security systems installed by ex-offenders – no matter how much that offender is ‘going straight’. That’s just human nature; it’s nothing personal.

It’s not the alarm company who will object; it’s the alarm company’s customers. Therefore, all security companies, their owners and staff should be squeaky clean.

What does screening achieve?

Good screening should show that a person is who they say they are; they live where they say they live; have a good reputation (references); no criminal record; are financially stable; and can account for their working history for the last five years.

Screening does not guarantee a person’s suitability for security work, but it does filter out many who are unacceptable.

BS 7858 requires that no company should employ persons whose career and history suggests that they may not be able to resist temptations that put their employers in breach of security.

A good selling point

Any company conducting security screening to the BS 7858 standard is striving to meet the high standards of integrity required by both customers and the security industry.

Screening requirements

Employees or candidates for employment should be asked to provide the following:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence
  • References
  • A copy of their police record
  • A statement of financial status
  • A history of all employment (going back five years or to 12 years’ old, whichever occurs first)
  • And/or a school report
  • Current work permits or visas (foreign nationals)

The screening process

The screening process should be conducted before employment commences. However, full screening may take a long time. If basic screening can be done in the short term through telephone calls, then a suitable person may be offered temporary employment subject to full screening being completed.

The offer of temporary employment must be explained to the potential employee with the understanding that employment may be terminated if the full screening uncovers problematic information.

Individuals should be informed that the company may use ultra violet light or other means to detect forgeries in visas, passports etc. Discovered forgeries will be reported to the proper authorities.

All information revealed during the screening process should be kept in a secure environment, out of access to other staff members, except approved screening staff. There should be separate screening files for each individual so they cannot see other people’s files if they request to view their own.

Secure information shall not be disclosed or passed to third parties.

This is not the full screening scenario – for more detail read the Lynskey Associates handbook, read the full BS 7858 standard itself or contact a specialist screening company.

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September 19, 2014 11:59 pm

unlocktherecord DomHeadley34 that’s v good, not enough companies do this, the employers should advocate more and break the cycle

September 20, 2014 12:05 am
September 20, 2014 12:14 am

unlocktherecord DomHeadley34 it’s a start I guess, attitudes is the real winner I think, your not going to get everyone to agree

November 10, 2014 4:58 pm

All for security vetting especially character vetting, but could someone please tell me what “financially stable” has to do with a persons suitability or honesty. Are the standards suggesting that if a person has a CCJ then they are a potential thief? I think recent events with our own politicians and financial sector shows it’s more likely that those with “financial stability” are more likely to be less trustworthy than those that just need a job.