A Guide To SIA ACS and How it is Used

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The SIA Approved Contractor Scheme or ‘ACS’ provides organisations with the opportunity to distinguish themselves as one of the best private security services providers in the UK.

There are currently numerous security companies already in business in the UK with many new ones starting up each year. The UK Government hopes that through the SIA, the security industry becomes better regulated and that security companies are encouraged to gain accreditation. This helps to verify that an organisations systems and procedures are capable of providing a high quality and reliable security service to individuals and businesses.

SIA ACS – What is it?

The Security Industry Authority or ‘SIA’ was formed in 2001 and is a government regulatory body with the purpose of regulating the UK’s private security industry in which accreditation plays a key role.

Designed to improve the standards of the security industry, the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) is a voluntary accreditation system managed by the SIA. Their goal is to “raise performance standards and to assist the private security industry in developing new opportunities.”

The main function of the ACS is to raise and maintain the standards as well as providing support to the private security industry with identifying and developing new opportunities.

Those familiar with or already working within the security industry know that there has been an increase in clients specifically wanting to work with organisations that are certified with proof and verification of their service quality and the competency of staff.

The ACS scheme provides private security companies with the opportunity to credibly demonstrate to both new and existing clients that they met the highest standards of operation and that their security personnel are suitably trained and professional in order to best serve the needs of the customers.

Benefits of SIA ACS Certification

There are many benefits of becoming SIA ACS certified, not just for the organisation but for their customers and employees.

Only companies on the SIA Approved Contractor Register are able to offer:

  • Operational Effectiveness and Continuity of Quality

The employment processes of approved contractors have been extensively assessed to ensure that they meet the required standards for certification meaning that customers can be confident that they will receive a high quality service.

In the event that the approved contractor sub-contracts, customers have the peace of mind in knowing that they will only do so with other SIA Approved Contractors in order to maintain the quality of service and integrity of your security supply.

  • Innovation and Leadership

The voluntary ACS scheme is an advanced, progressive quality initiative which ensures that accredited providers have the ability to be highly responsive to change and quick to adopt new methods which are both an essential part of the road to sustainable growth.

  • Customer Focus

SIA ACS accredited companies strive to put in place effective processes and procedures that are customer-focused in order to identify, address and resolve any issues that arise in service delivery. This results in an improved, more bespoke service rather than a generic, ‘cookie cutter’ approach which means that customers precise needs and requirements are met.

  • High Standards

Although most organisations like to think they already reach a high standard of service, as approved contractors they will be required to meet the required standards put forward by industry experts at the British Standards Institution. The process allows the company to make vital operational improvements which create a better, more efficient and reliable service that works to operate continuously at the highest levels.

  • SIA Licensed Staff

All security staff within the company must be SIA licensed at all times in order to qualify, whether they are actively working or not. This provides assurance to potential clients looking to use their services that the security staff are professional, capable and highly trained, all of which are crucial within the industry.

  • Reputation 

Obtaining an ACS accreditation is a process that not all organisations who try are able to achieve. It is a process that takes time, resources and dedication to succeed at and in turn reap the benefits of being an SIA Approved Contractor.

Being accredited demonstrates instantly the organisations level of quality and dedication to providing a high standard of security service to their clients, securing a standout reputation within the industry.

Qualifying for Approval

The objective of the Approved Contractor Scheme is to increase performance standards within the private security industry and develop new opportunities in order to best serve the customer’s needs.

Applications are reviewed against the following:

Application form – form completed and submitted with evidence (ie insurance certs, paye ref no etc)

Self-Assessment – The Self-Assessment Workbook has been completed accurately with adequate justification provided for each relevant section.

SIA Licensed Staff – In order to achieve ACS, all security staff need to be licensed.

Management – The assessment body must be satisfied that the company is a ‘fit and proper’ organisation with equally qualified and capable directors in place.

Licensed Directors – All licensable directors have to hold a valid SIA licence or, in the assessor’s view, have taken the necessary steps to acquire one.

Substantial Complaints – If there are any significant concerns or complaints against the organisation, it’s senior management or directors then these might have to be investigated further before continuing.

Fees – Payment of the appropriate fees will need to be made at both the pre-approval stage and the post-approval stage in order to gain certification. The price of these fees is dependent on the size of organisation and number of licensable staff and pay for things such as processing the application, eligibility checks, annual registration fee and operational costs of the scheme.

JR Consultants – SIA ACS Services

Getting on the SIA Approved Contractor Register is not an easily achievable task when managing in house without the help of skilled professionals who are adept at handling and managing the process. With years of experience helping clients achieve certification, we are on hand to help give guidance and advice whenever it is needed in order to make the path to approval as fast, cost effective and as simple as possible.

At JR Consultants, our expert staff are here every step of the way from helping to fill out the extensive self-assessment, to arranging for the assessment to take place and even being on site during it to help answer any questions you have.

Once approval is given we are also able to check the processes on a regular basis to ensure they are maintained, and that your SIA ACS approval is retained.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help your security company take the next steps in becoming one of the highest quality service providers in the UK, please contact us to speak to an advisor.

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