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SSAIB continues to provide vital certification services during Coronavirus lockdown

23 April 2020

SECURITY SYSTEMS and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) CEO Alex Carmichael is keen to reiterate that the organisation remains fully operational and continues to provide certification for over 1,800 registered firms (as well as new firms looking to join) during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the restrictions relating to travel and social distancing necessarily imposed by the Government, the UKAS-accredited certification body for the security and fire industries has embraced new technology to provide remote audits for certification, surveillance and re-certification. A pragmatic and positive approach to the pandemic has been adopted by the National Police Chiefs Council, BAFE, the Security Industry Authority and UKAS as they apply to the SSAIB’s certification schemes.

An amendment to the ICT infrastructure, as required to support the new remote functions, has also allowed the SSAIB’s head office functions (including telephone lines) to remain operational, but measures such as home working have been introduced to safeguard the health of all SSAIB staff.

Carmichael has overseen a widespread transformation of the organisation’s working practices in the last month or so, but is fully confident that these changes will allow SSAIB-registered firms and any potential new firms to continue to enjoy the benefits of third party certification during what are unprecedented times.

The SSAIB's CEO stated: “As soon as it was first mentioned that this crisis could realise a nationwide lockdown, we made sure to put procedures in place that would allow us to continue to support our registered firms, and the wider security and fire industries, at a time when we knew they would need our support more than ever. By continuing our operations, we're primarily seeking to support our existing clients, while at the same time providing an opportunity to gain certification for those organisations seeking certification for the first time.”

He continued: “Certification auditing arrangements for each scheme differ and details of these arrangements will be provided to applicants as part of the application process. Arrangements for surveillance and re-certification audits also differ for each scheme and registered organisations will be made aware of these in advance of surveillance or re-certification audits becoming due.”

Feedback from registered firms

Carmichael is quick to point out that the feedback the organisation has received to date from those firms that have had remote audits conducted has been excellent and more than justified the SSAIB's decision to introduce them.

While it seems to have been a relatively seamless transition for SSAIB to introduce home working for staff and fully remote audits, Carmichael has conceded that he couldn’t rule out further changes, but revealed that any change in circumstances would be handled in a “phased and managed” manner.

Carmichael continued: “These arrangements will remain in place for as long as financial constraints allow. It may be necessary to amend our services, and particularly so if the lockdown remains in place for a long time. “In the event of it becoming necessary to reduce the services we can offer, we will do so in a phased and managed fashion in order to minimise the impact on the services we provide.”

Should circumstances change, the SSAIB will inform its registered firms of any new developments.

*If any readers of Security Matters have questions on the SSAIB’s new remote auditing procedures then do give the organisation a call direct on 0191-296 3242

**The inaugural Security Matters Podcast will be live to view from Wednesday 22 April and contains an in-depth interview with Alex Carmichael that elaborates on the issues outlined above