The SIA stands for the “Security Industry Authority”, which is an independent organisation that regulates the security industry. They offer an Approved Contractors Scheme (ACS), which is a voluntary certification available to private security companies. The standard was created as recently in 2006.
Security is obviously a high-stakes profession, and in recent years, security clients have become increasingly concerned about the quality, competency and professionalism of security workers.
The ACS scheme is intended as a way for private security companies to credibly demonstrate that they meet certain standards of operation, and that their security personnel are trained to a particular level.
Although the scheme was developed primarily by the Security Industry Authority, security companies usually choose to be assessed by an independent assessor that is SIA approved. The first thing they’re required to do is perform a self-assessment, so they can get a ballpark idea of how close they are to meeting the required standard, and if they need to improve in certain areas, how to make the necessary changes.
The cost of the scheme depends on the size of the organisation seeking approval. Because it is the security personnel themselves that become licensed, the more security personnel the firm employs, the more expensive the SIA ACS application fee. Application prices range from £400 for a small organisation with less than 10 employees, up to £2400 for large organisations with over 250 licensable personnel.
There is also an annual registration fee of £15 for every licensable individual that is employed by the security company. In addition to application fees, independent assessors also charge for their services, and the price will vary.
Although it is not cheap, and the costs are variable and grow with your business – the SIA ACS certification is the best and most nationally recognised way to signal quality, competency and professionalism to your security clients.