3 March 2011
An update from Bill Butler, Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority.
Working with the industry and other stakeholders, we have developed an agreed framework setting out how we propose the planned transition to a new regulatory regime should take place. SIA chairman Ruth Henig and I met with Home Office minister, Lynne Featherstone, on 16 February to discuss these proposals. The Government has now had the opportunity to consider the plan and, on 28 February, Baroness Neville-Jones, Home Office Minister of State, spoke on the arrangements for future regulation of the private security industry during the Committee Stage of the Public Bodies Bill in the House of Lords.
She commended the contribution made by the industry and made it clear that ministers have received and agreed the SIA's proposed approach, and that the SIA has been tasked with developing a detailed plan and taking forward the new arrangements.
Baroness Neville-Jones gave a firm reassurance that the new regulatory regime would not result in a lowering of current standards. She said:
"We believe that it is now the right time to move over to a new regulatory regime. I stress that it will be a regulatory regime. The private security industry has matured under the aegis of the SIA since SIA regulation began, and there is evidence of increased standards in the industry. We believe that employers should now be given more responsibility for making safe and legal recruitment decisions."
The details of the plan have yet to be decided and will be subject to Parliamentary approval, but the key elements are likely to include:
- The transition to a new regulatory body, subject to new primary legislation, to give statutory force to the new regime.
- The introduction of a new regulatory regime focussed on business registration, with robust sanctions to exclude businesses that do not meet the registration conditions, and an approach and fees that recognise the particular position of smaller businesses.
- Allowing registered businesses to play a greater role in the checking and registration of individuals, in certain circumstances, while maintaining a national register of individuals and access for those not directly employed by registered companies.
While the final decisions on future regulation in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the devolved administrations, it is expected that the new regime should be capable of working across the United Kingdom.
Baroness Neville-Jones confirmed that the change would not be rushed and that nothing significant would happen until after the Olympics in 2012. She said:
"We have now considered and agreed that this will form the basis for moving forward on phased transition... this process is being done in careful consultation with the SIA and the industry on the basis of trying to ensure that we come out with a regime that offers the same degree of assurance of high standards that has already been established. Primary legislation will then be needed to set up the new regulatory body that will succeed the SIA. We will ensure that provision is included in a future Home Office Bill. Full transition to the new regime should, we hope, be completed by the end of 2013."
Baroness Neville-Jones added:
"I thank the SIA for the help that they are giving in moving the industry along to the new regime. We have also asked the SIA if they will take forward the work necessary to ensure the full delivery."
The SIA will continue to work closely with the Security Alliance and other stakeholders in developing plans for the transition to a new regulatory regime.