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July 9, 2009

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Whitepaper: Effective Techniques for Robust OT Security

Do your security officers use assignment instructions?

As the managing director of a security consultancy business, and having worked in the security sector for 20 years now, I’ve seen many changes within the industry.

With the relatively recent introduction of the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), a standard has at long last been set. That standard has been much needed in the security sector.

In particular, the ACS has highlighted the importance of processes and documents in your business. It has made this mandatory in some cases, for example when it comes to site assignment instructions.

Of vital importance to the officer

I have long held the belief that site assignment instruction booklets are one of the most important documents a security officer has access to while on duty (if not the most important). During my time working with all sizes of security company, I have come across many variations of site assignment instructions. There have been the two-page documents scribbled all over as practices have altered, all the way up to vast tomes designed to impress clients rather than aid the officer.

The feedback I have received about assignment instructions when speaking to officers has surprised me. In some cases, such little importance is given to these documents that certain security officers don’t even know what they are, and why they should be used.

On the other hand, we have officers who are frustrated as their limited assignment instructions document does not aid them in their job. At the other end of the scale, I’ve met with officers who are baffled by a 100-page collective that bears little relevance to their job and duties.

In our experience, assignment instructions are a constant reference for the security officer and every bit as important as his or her licence and uniform. Having passed Basic Job Training, the assignment instructions become a familiar document which includes such important information as duties for the security staff, client details and emergency procedures.

Various advantages of detailed instructions

The advantages to having detailed but concise assignment instructions are far-reaching:

  • it’s one of the requirements of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme
  • Security officers are more confident in their job, and have a standard against which they can work
  • they portray a professional image to clients
  • the guarding company’s processes are more structured
  • it’s good indication to your insurers that you’re trading correctly

However, when producing your assignment instructions you’ll find that it’s time-consuming and very often difficult to know what to include. The instructions we’ve developed are easily adaptable and contain information approved by a qualified assessor

Roberta Minty is managing director of the Total Training Consultancy

For further information either visit the company’s web site or telephone 01249 783516

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March 4, 2015 5:08 pm

You certainly make the importance of assignment instructions obvious. In addition, I like how you point out that these documents can be a source of confusion. If the document is too extensive, or not extensive enough, a company can end up paying for security service that they are not using to it’s full potential.

October 9, 2020 2:19 am

How long legally do site security assignment instructions last, ie need renewing and signing by security staff ?

C Tonge
C Tonge
August 20, 2021 8:38 pm
Reply to  Ross

The British Standards say they must be reviewed upon any change or at least annually