New Standard To Bolster Protection Against Rogue Security Labour Risks

Security stewards at a football match Clare Rogers, the National Security Inspectorate’s Senior Operations Manager (Services), describes how an upcoming British Standard will take forward a current Code of Practice adopted across the sector addressing potential weaknesses in the security labour supply chain.

Following the Government’s draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, which sets out requirements under Martyn’s Law for organisations and venues to consider or employ security measures at the majority of public spaces and venues across the UK, an important new British Standard covering security labour procurement is scheduled for publication as early as this autumn.

‘British Standard BS 10119 Provision of Labour in the Security and Events Sector – Code of Practice’ has been drafted by the British Standards Institution, based on NSI’s NCP 119 Code of Practice. The term ‘labour provision’ applies to activities such as bought-in-labour, licensed or unlicensed: labour employed and/or supplied by a third party to supplement a contracting company’s security and/or event workforce.

Flexible Labour Risks

The procurement of additional labour to support service delivery in the security guarding and events management sectors is common practice, giving companies the flexibility to scale their operations effectively. When professionally managed, flexible labour ensures security is not compromised. But when poorly managed there is a risk to the safety and security of the public, and for worker exploitation.

Prior to the development of NCP 119, NSI auditors would, from time to time, encounter a lack of control across a company’s labour supply chain – a situation not addressed within existing industry Standards, increasing the risk of contractors’ and buyers’ exposure to ‘rogue labour’. The risk to main contractors and buyers was clear: an absence of adequate controls regarding SIA (Security Industry Authority) licensing, security screening to BS 7858, adherence to Working Time Regulations, the paying of minimum wage and checks on identity, right to work and employment status. Lack of oversight is also conceivably an opportunity for terror groups to exploit.

Existing approval schemes at that time failed to address these issues, so to address this rogue labour risk in April 2020 NSI developed an initially voluntary Code of Practice (NCP 119) for the ‘Provision of labour in the security and events sector’ (Football and Stadium Management, April/May 2021).

The Code provides contractors/sub-contractors with an off-the-shelf mechanism to demand robust and professional employment practices from their labour providers. Organisations providing labour to security companies can readily demonstrate their best practice by holding independent certification in the scope of labour provision in the security and events sectors. When adopted as policy by main contractors it helps drive all labour providers towards good practice and brings labour provision into line with employed security officers.

Cross-Sector Action

Mindful of industry concerns and the value of widening the Code’s application, in September 2021 NSI acted to make NCP 119 an ‘open code’ available to all Certification Bodies operating in this sector and appointed by the SIA to deliver Approved Contractor Scheme assessments. This meant that a labour provider possibly holding approval with another body appointed by the SIA could apply to that same body for NCP 119 approval.

Following this, with effect from January 2022 it became a mandatory requirement for all NSI approved Guarding Gold and Guarding Silver companies to use only labour providers involved in their contracted service delivery which hold approval to the Code.

British Standard Development

Recognising the labour provision risks addressed by NCP 119, and the contextual requirements imposed by the forthcoming Martyn’s Law legislation, the British Standards Institution has now developed a draft BS 10119. This provisional British Standard develops NSI’s initial thinking with counter terrorism awareness added as a training requirement alongside enhanced consideration for staff welfare and support.

It's likely the Standard will be published as early as this autumn, with first NSI approvals being granted by the end of the year or early in 2024. The evolution from NCP 119 to BS 10119 underscores the security sector’s desire to protect the public, combat worker exploitation and deliver value in an area where cost-cutting risks severe, if not tragic consequences.

Following the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack, security in places where the public have access has come under heightened scrutiny, underlining the importance of employing professional companies which can ensure all deployed resources are vetted.

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