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SIA details outcomes from licence-linked qualifications review process

23 September 2020

THE SECURITY Industry Authority (SIA) has announced the results of its review of licence-linked qualifications. The regulator reviews the licence-linked qualifications every five years to ensure that they’re fit-for-purpose and relevant for the security industry in the years ahead.

The overriding aim of this process is to improve the basic skills, knowledge and understanding of security operatives such that they can transact their roles more effectively, improve community safety and better protect the public. 

The review itself encompassed an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement, including interviews and discussions with sector bodies, training providers, employers and learners as well as licence-holders. The SIA set up expert Working Groups for each of the licensable sectors and conducted three online consultations that received more than 5,000 responses.

An independent research company was commissioned to look at how the work of the private security industry has changed and how it may change in future. The research identified skills that are required now to manage risk to the public, and those that will be of increasing importance when it comes to underpinning industry change in the future.

The SIA liaised with experts to ensure that areas of the specifications that need particular input such as counter terrorism have the most up to date content.

The review also looked to ensure that there are robust assessment and quality assurance arrangements in place for the licence-linked qualifications. This will better assure the SIA of the integrity of the qualifications and help the regulator to reduce instances of training malpractice.

Licence-linked qualifications

On 1 April 2021, the SIA is introducing new licence-linked qualifications that will better equip operatives to work in the private security industry. The new qualifications will give a more robust foundation of skills and knowledge and reflect what has been learned from extensive industry consultation and engagement.

Those qualifications will be in line with current private security industry working practice, help manage new risks and reflect changes caused by new  technology. As most job roles will demand greater responsibility and skill, operatives need to be equipped to deal with the challenges to come. 

A good example of this is First Aid training. Research and industry feedback has highlighted a strong need for security operatives to have knowledge of First Aid, especially so in emergency situations where they’re likely to be the closest to an incident. 

Training content that was considered of vital importance to all sectors was moved to the ‘common unit’ (taken by all security operatives) to allow sector-specific content to be covered. Meanwhile, the up-to-date Terror Threat Awareness has been standardised such that all sectors have access to the same up-to-date content. 

The SIA has increased the number of practical elements in the training to help learners reinforce their knowledge and ensure it’s more robust. The practical assessments include searching, dealing with conflict, report/statement writing and using communications devices.

Summary of the changes

*First Aid
From April 2021, new applicants will need to complete an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification, or equivalent, before taking the required training needed for a licence (except for Close Protection and Cash and Valuables in Transit licences). 

The SIA will accept a higher-level or equivalent First Aid qualification such as First Aid at Work, First Person on Scene and First Response Emergency Care if it complies with guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.

*Top-up training for Door Supervisors and Security Officers 
The top-up training for door supervisors and security officers will include key elements of the new content that the SIA is introducing to licence-linked qualifications in April next year. The regulator has developed top-up training to make sure current Door Supervisor and Security Guarding licence holders have the same basic skills and knowledge as new entrants achieving the updated qualifications. 

From October next year, door supervisors and security officers will need to complete top-up training before they renew their licence. Emergency First Aid at Work training or equivalent will need to be completed before top-up training.

New topics included in licence-linked qualifications 

For the Expanded Common Unit (core learning for all operatives), the new topics included in licence-linked qualifications are Communication Skills, Incident Management, Health and Safety Procedures, Citizens’ Arrest, Protecting Vulnerable People, Emergency Procedures, Record Keeping and COVID-19.

In terms of Door Supervision, there will be specific content on the use of equipment such as body-worn video, breathalysers and an increased array of Personal Protective Equipment such as stab vests and needle/slash-resistant gloves. There will also be enhanced content on the management of crowds.

When it comes to Security Guarding, additional content is outlined covering personal safety and the risks associated with physical intervention. This includes content on how to identify situations that might compromise personal safety and the use of strategies like dynamic risk assessment. This doesn’t include any practical physical intervention training. There will also be the use of equipment as outlined above.

For Cash-and-Valuables-in-Transit (CVIT), additional content on data protection issues applicable to the role of a CVIT operatives and the impact of terror incidents will be covered.

Additional content on legislation, CCTV operational procedures, communications and dealing with incidents and technology is new for Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) operatives. 

Last, but not least, additional content covering sector-specific physical intervention skills training is being brought in for Close Protection operatives. A further announcement on this content will be made in time. It’s likely that the new Close Protection qualification will be launched at a later date.