SSAIB News

SSAIB Thanks Long-Serving Team Member Joan Denley for 25 Years of Service

SSAIB Thanks Long-Serving Team Member Joan Denley for 25 Years of Service

SSAIB have presented staff member Joan Denley with a commemorate watch, to mark her 25 years of service with the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries.

Joan began working at SSAIB on September 12, 1995 – which, incidentally, also saw her celebrating her birthday on her first day - meaning that she has worked for the organisation for all bar 10 months of its existence.

Because of the 50% rotation of staff policy that SSAIB has implemented to ensure a smooth transition back into head office this month, it was left to chief executive Alex Carmichael to visit Joan’s home to make a socially-distanced presentation on her doorstep earlier today.

Alex commented: “On behalf of everyone at SSAIB, I would like to congratulate Joan on reaching her 25th anniversary with the organisation and thank her for her many years of dedicated service.

“To have been at SSAIB for nearly all of the time that it has existed as an inspectorate should not be overlooked, which is why we could not let this milestone pass us by without commemorating it in some way.

“Joan is a very well-thought of member of the team and I’m sure everyone will join me in wishing her a very happy birthday this weekend as well.”

Posted: 11/09/2020 more >

Nominations Open for UK Outstanding Security Performance Awards 2021

Nominations Open for UK Outstanding Security Performance Awards 2021

The nominations are now open for SSAIB-registered firms to submit their selections for next year’s Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs), which rewards proven outstanding performance across the security sector.

Celebrating their fifth year in 2021, the UK OSPAs – which form part of a global awards scheme currently running in eight countries - will take place in the first quarter of 2021. However, the deadline for nominations to be made is midnight on Thursday October 1, 2020.

With awards presented across 16 categories, nominations are open to anyone working within the security sector. The main criteria for entry is that a company, team or individual has performed at an exceptional level and nominees are eligible to be put forward for more than one category.

The categories for this year’s UK OSPAs include:

- Outstanding In-House Security Manager/Director

- Outstanding Contract Security Manager/Director

- Outstanding Security Team

- Outstanding Contract Security Company (Guarding)

- Outstanding Security Consultant

- Outstanding Customer Service Initiative

- Outstanding Security Training Initiative

- Outstanding Security Installer/Integrator

- Outstanding Event Security Team

- Outstanding Security Partnership

- Outstanding Security Equipment Manufacturer

- Outstanding New Security Product

- Outstanding Security Officer

- Outstanding Young Security Professional

- Outstanding Cyber Security Initiative

- Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Martin Gill, founder of the awards, said: “I encourage everyone working in the sector to submit at least one nomination; security too often operates under the radar and the OSPAs provide the opportunity to highlight and promote the pioneering work that is being carried out.”

Nominations are free to submit, but the person nominating is required to answer two questions on the nominee and why they should win the award. The judging panel for each category will then use these answers as part of their decision making when choosing a winner.

Full details on how to submit an nomination – and the categories available – can be found at https://uk.theospas.com/enter/.

Posted: 08/09/2020 more >

SSAIB Reopens Doors to COVID-19 Secure Head Office

SSAIB Reopens Doors to COVID-19 Secure Head Office

SSAIB have reopened the doors of their West Monkseaton-based head office on a progressive return to the premises – after a number of changes were implemented to ensure the building is COVID-19 secure.

Having continued to work remotely throughout lockdown - and the gradual easing of those restrictions - the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries have now implemented a 50% rotation system for SSAIB headquarters. This has been achieved by splitting the office staff into two bubbles, with each alternatively working in the office one week and then remotely for a week.

Various sections of the office have been rearranged to ensure that social distancing is a lot easier to maintain, while Perspex sheets have been fitted to the tops of every workstation across the building to further enhance the protection of SSAIB staff while sat at their desks. Hand sanitiser is present throughout the building, to ensure that nothing is brought into the building from outside.

A number of legislations have also been implemented for communal areas to comply with the latest Government guidelines, which will continue to be monitored and acted upon as and when any amendments are made to them.

SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael commented: “I am delighted to be able to welcome the SSAIB staff back into head office. We’ve devised a strategy that both works for the organisation, to allow us to create a ‘new normal’, while ensuring the safety of our work force isn’t sacrificed.

“The way SSAIB adapted to working remotely during lockdown was excellent, but we’re now at a point where we have to try and integrate ourselves back into an office environment once again. Our new rotation system allows us to have a constant physical office presence once more, without putting our staff at risk.”

SSAIB will continue to work in this new way until such time that any further changes are deemed necessary.

Posted: 07/09/2020 more >

BAFE launches FireQual Awarding Organisation

BAFE launches FireQual Awarding Organisation

Following last week’s news of BAFE’s acquisition of the Fire Industry Association’s Awarding Organisation (FIA AO), BAFE have announced further details on their new FireQual subsidiary venture.

BAFE – who announced the acquisition of the FIA AO by BAFE FireQual Ltd on August 20, 2020 – strongly believe this will be a significant opportunity for the fire industry to develop an exciting range of accredited qualifications to meet the demand for quality assurance of individual skill and expertise required by the industry. This necessity was heightened by the Grenfell tragedy and its subsequent reports outlined by Dame Judith Hackitt and the Competency Steering Group.

Dame Judith Hackitt stated: “The lack of a coherent approach to competence levels and experience required – or professional qualifications where these may be necessary – and how these qualifications and experience should be evidenced so that they are clearly understood by all those operating within the system.” - 5.2 Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report.

FireQual will operate as a separate wholly owned subsidiary of BAFE - with its own board of directors – and will be led by a newly appointed qualifications manager, who has a wide experience at a senior level in the qualifications sector. The FireQual Board currently is made up of chairman Lewis Ramsay - former deputy chief fire officer of Scottish Fire & Rescue – Pauline Traetto, a previous executive director of BRE Academy, BAFE chairman Douglas Barnett and BAFE chief executive Stephen Adams.

For full clarity, FireQual will only offer exams and qualifications – neither BAFE nor FireQual will be delivering any training. FireQual will be working with licensed training organisations – including the FIA – who will offer the approved syllabuses to their learners.

BAFE consider this separation from training and exams/invigilation – as currently operated at BAFE with the BS 5306 fire extinguisher exam – is important to deliver independent quality assurance of this process.

Stephen Adams commented: “There are natural synergies that will occur along with the BAFE ethos of third-party certification for companies delivered through licensed [UKAS-accredited] certification bodies. We believe that the introduction of accredited qualifications will only enhance the BAFE company schemes.

“These are not to be thought of as one or the other, however, BAFE will continue to monitor company assurance of specific service competency which holds important value. FireQual will develop qualifications for individual expertise for specific services, whether the candidate works for a BAFE-registered company or not.”

Following the acquisition, the FIA AO will continue to deliver their exams until FireQual has established the necessary systems and delivery processes. FireQual aim to make this transition as quickly as possible, with all the requirements for OFQUAL and the equivalent standards in Scotland and Wales under way.

FireQual will take the opportunity to contact a wide range of organisations that currently deliver training across all aspects of fire safety to consider the application of the new range of qualifications that we will be reviewing. FireQual welcomes any approaches to consider how this should develop and looks forward to collaborating with the industry to progress the future of individual qualifications for the fire safety industry.

For further information on FireQual, please visit www.firequal.com.

Posted: 27/08/2020 more >

Lynn Watts-Plumpkin Returns as SSAIB Manned Services Scheme Manager

Lynn Watts-Plumpkin Returns as SSAIB Manned Services Scheme Manager

SSAIB are delighted to welcome back Lynn Watts-Plumpkin as manned services scheme manager – after predecessor Dougie Callander moved onto pastures new.

Lynn first arrived at SSAIB as an auditor back in 2003 and worked her way up to manned services scheme manager, before making the decision to leave the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries in 2013.

However, when she heard of the opportunity to make a return to the organisation, Lynn had no hesitations about coming back.

Lynn – who also chairs the GW/3 Lead committee for the manned services standards, which includes British Standard BS:102000 Investigative Services standard – revealed: “I loved my role at SSAIB, but felt that I needed to broaden my horizons and gain experience with other certification bodies. I still kept in touch with my ex-SSAIB colleagues and, when I heard my old role was available, I jumped at the chance.

“I feel now that I have come back home and I’m really enjoying the challenge.”

That challenge has, of course, included helping the most widely recognised technical inspectorate navigate through the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Although, Lynn is adamant that it was “crucial” that SSAIB worked hard to continue providing certification throughout lockdown.

Lynn commented: “The firms wanted the assessments to continue and we delivered.

“The assessment process - through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, DropBox, OneDrive and SharePoint etc –  has been excellent.  I conducted one assessment and managed to speak to 12 frontline staff through a laptop, ensuring social distancing and Government guidelines were all met.

The frontline staff seemed more relaxed than when we first meet them face-to-face on site - as they are mostly used to technology and it worked really well.  Although, I actually prefer to conduct the face-to-face site visits, so we can converse with the frontline staff and they can show us what their job entails.”

With regards to how the manned services team has adapted to remote auditing during lockdown, Lynn added: “I have to say that it has been a useful experiment conducting remote assessments and something that could be continued.

“We have used technology and have ensured that the level of the audits have not been compromised”.  “I have had good feedback from the firms who say they have enjoyed the process”.

“I see that this will be built into the assessment process going forward and we will continue to conduct blended assessments e.g. both remotely and on-site and I hope this is the ‘new norm’.”

Following a few personnel changes during 2020 for the manned services team – including the appointment of manned services administrator Colm McCoy back in April – Lynn’s appointment will see her spearhead a new manned services team going forward. However, SSAIB’s latest acquisition is confidently backing her fellow new starters to hit the ground running.

Lynn explained: “Yes, some of the old team have left to pursue other interests.  The new team are all settling in well, which includes our administrator, who is doing a sterling job.

“A new deputy scheme manager has also been employed, who has vast security experience - as well as a solid background in assessing the SIA Approved Contractors Scheme, ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and product standards, so is a huge asset to the team.

“Our new assessor, again, has a good solid background in the security industry and will bring a fresh pair of eyes to the assessment process.”

As part of Lynn’s reintroduction to SSAIB, the new scheme manager will also be the focus of the next SSAIB Spotlight feature in the September issue of Professional Security magazine.

SSAIB would like to thank outgoing scheme manager Dougie Callander and assessor Lisa Nazareth for their contributions towards SSAIB and we would like to wish them both well with their future endeavours.

Posted: 21/08/2020 more >