SSAIB Keen to Inform Registered Firms of Special Funds for New Apprentices

SSAIB Keen to Inform Registered Firms of Special Funds for New Apprentices

Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement yesterday, SSAIB are eager to make our registered firms aware of the fact that there are new additional incentives for taking on apprentices and trainees - as we come out of the lockdown and get back to full work.

If anyone had been thinking of taking on an apprentice this year - before putting their plans to one side after lockdown was announced - then now is the time to look to your future and act fast, before all of the places are taken up.

The new FESS apprenticeship program has been a fantastic success in meeting the skill gap in this industry and, with training providers offering places for the coming year, there is no better time to invest in your company’s future with an apprentice (or two.)

Anyone interested in taking advantage of this new program are urged to contact SSAIB training manager Trevor Jenks, who can help interested parties identify training providers who will help them open the digital accounts needed to access the funding, and provide advice on taking on an apprentice.

The additional incentives - which are for England and Northern Ireland (Scotland and Wales have different funding, but Trevor can also help put people in touch with providers in those regions) - are as below:

1. For apprentices employed Aug 2020-Jan 2021 and aged 16-24, employers will get a £2000 incentive payment. If the apprentice is 16-18, a £1000 incentive bonus is also paid.

Meanwhile, those that are aged 25 and over will generate a bonus of £1500.

2. Traineeships remain the same, ie unpaid work experience.

3. Kickstart is for 16-24s on universal credit, who are at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training.) They get paid minimum wage for 25 hours work in a 'new' job at an employer for 13 weeks, with the employers getting a £2000 incentive bonus.

Any interested parties looking for more information are invited to contact Trevor on 07889 807 047 to discuss the process of taking on an apprentice and where the providers offering the FESS apprenticeship are based.

Posted: 09/07/2020 more >

SSAIB Manned Services Update After SIA Recommence ACS Applications

New BS7858 Requirements

The new version of BS7858:2019 is now available on the portal so, if you have not done so already, you should review it and carry out a gap analysis to ensure your recruitment and vetting procedures are up-to-date. SSAIB have also published a bulletin on the key changes (see bulletin number 1105), but we wanted to remind you that there is a new requirement to carry out a financial sanction check on any new starters.

Find further information and a link to the financial sanctions list here:

Coronavirus Q&A

Where can I find the latest government advice and support on coronavirus?

Where can I get help on doing a coronavirus risk assessment for my business

When will the SIA accept new ACS applications?

The SIA started accepting new ACS applications from July 1. Any application that was received prior to this date and had been on hold also resumed processing.

The SIA have said that first-time (initial) assessments must be carried out entirely on site. We are happy to accept bookings, but we will postpone initial assessments until safe to do so.

Can I extend the scope of my company’s approval at the moment?

Yes. We can cover an extension to scope in your assessment, but the SIA have said a site visit will be required.

The SIA may grant the extension to scope on the condition that a site visit is completed at a later date.

Why haven’t I received my new ACS certificate yet?

The SIA’s head offices are currently closed, and all SIA staff are working from home, so - currently - the SIA cannot send out new ACS certificates. If you are asked by a client or other interested party to evidence that you are approved, you should direct them to your entry on the Register of Approved Contractors.

Can I postpone my ACS assessment after June 30?

The SIA initially allowed all ACS companies to defer their assessment for three months without the need to apply for this.

This automatic deferral ended on June 30, but any company experiencing difficulties - as a result of coronavirus - may request an extension or further extension by contacting the SIA, via their business account, and explaining the reason for the request. The SIA will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

Remote Assessment Q&A

Can I have a remote assessment?

All ACS reverification and renewal assessments are being carried out on a part-remote basis, but we cannot offer them for initial (Year 1) assessments.

Please note that if your approval has lapsed and you have reapplied for approval, your assessment will be treated as an initial assessment - regardless of the length of time you may have been previously approved.

A part-remote assessment covers 29 mandatory indicators (out of a total of 78 indicators.) Day One of the assessment is carried out remotely, while Day Two will focus on service-delivery - including customer site visits and observation of front-line staff carrying out their duties.

We are also carrying out surveillance and recertification product assessments remotely. UKAS rules stipulate that we cannot carry out new certifications remotely where there would be a requirement to carry out site visits.

Will I still be ACS approved if I choose a part-remote assessment?

Yes! Your assessment is held open and will not be scored until Day Two is completed. Your approval is unaffected.

How do you carry out remote assessments?

If possible, we will try to use videoconferencing facilities for interviewing your staff. We will test this with you before the assessment as part of the planning process. We will also give you some guidance on planning for your remote assessment and discuss sampling arrangements - i.e. choosing a selection of clients and staff whose records we will review during the assessment.

In addition, we will set up a password-protected OneDrive folder for you to upload documents and records safely and securely. The entire folder - and its contents - will be deleted within five days of the remote assessment and we will notify you once we have done this.

How should I plan for my remote assessment?

We recommend you give yourself more time than usual before the assessment to locate relevant documentation and upload it into your folder (the planning guidance will help you decide what to choose.)

Should I involve staff and customers in my remote assessment?

We understand that the coronavirus has put UK businesses and their staff under severe pressure.  Your clients may – understandably - be reluctant to take part in the remote assessment, so it is fine to defer client interviews until Day 2 of your assessment.

If you have any staff who are furloughed, you should not ask them to take part in the remote assessment - as to do so may breach HMRC rules. You should involve non-furloughed staff (e.g. security staff, human resources, finance, directors etc) in the remote assessment, just as you would for a face-to-face assessment.

I have already had a remote assessment. When will SSAIB complete my assessment?

All part-remote assessments will be followed by an additional service-delivery focused day. We will continue to follow government guidelines and will resume site-based activity when it is safe for our clients and staff to do so.

We will contact all companies who need a site-based day to arrange this nearer the time.

Should you have any further questions that have not been addressed here, please phone us on 0191 296 3242 or email your query to

Posted: 06/07/2020 more >

IFSEC and FIREX 2020 Cancellation Announced Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

IFSEC and FIREX 2020 Cancellation Announced Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

As the official installer partner for both IFSEC International and FIREX International, SSAIB are saddened to hear that this year’s showpiece security and fire events have been postponed due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

After the initial May dates fell foul of the coronavirus lockdown, the shows had been rearranged for September 8-10. However, show organisers Informa have taken the difficult decision to postpone IFSEC and FIREX 2020 indefinitely and begin their focus on next year’s editions – as they hope to make a return to the ExCel in London on May 18-20, 2021.

A full statement from Chris Edwards, group exhibition director at Informa, can be viewed below.

I am very sorry to have to tell you that we have made the difficult decision to postpone IFSEC and FIREX International, along with all of the other co-located events that were due to run at London ExCeL on September 8-10, 2020. The events will now run May 18-20, 2021, still at London ExCeL.

We know how important our events are as a forum where our communities come together to learn, network and meet suppliers. We have a proud track record of hosting the largest gatherings of any event in our industry in the UK - and often beyond - and no one is more disappointed in this decision than us, but after much deliberation we are sure that this is absolutely the right thing to do in the circumstances.

Our focus over the last three months has been on ensuring that we can provide a safe and secure environment for our visitors, exhibitors and staff and whilst we felt confident of achieving this, we also have a duty to our customers to provide an event that matches the standards they expect of us. Additionally, as you know, these events have strong international participation and this would be severely compromised given the current restrictions.

After carefully considering the options, and following discussions with exhibitors and event partners, it became clear that postponement is the most sensible option. Whilst we are convinced we could make the event safe, the travel restrictions - combined with your feedback - give us confidence that this is the right decision.

We welcomed many thousands of industry colleagues during our Digital Week in May and we continue to develop our online platforms to offer additional ways of connecting with the wider industry. We will continue to work with our customers to help them connect with audiences online, using both our existing platforms and several new initiatives due to launch later this year.

As each of our communities look to rebuild and recover in 2021, our team will also be working hard to ensure we return next year with an event that brings people back together for the reunion everyone will be crying out for. Details on how our events will continue to evolve and develop for next year will be forthcoming over the summer.

Exhibitor bookings will transfer automatically to 2021 and we will be in contact with each and every customer and event partner to discuss this in person. Rest assured that prices will be frozen from 2020 and we will be reaching out to everyone by phone but if we can’t reach any individual for a few days, then by email.

Please bear with us as we work through this process over the next few days.

Thank you for your continued support,

Chris Edwards
Group Exhibition Director

Posted: 23/06/2020 more >

SSAIB Devastated to Hear of Long-Serving Inspector's Passing

SSAIB Devastated to Hear of Long-Serving Inspector's Passing

It is with great sadness that we must report the death of former long-serving SSAIB inspector David Balcombe.

David worked as a regional auditor for SSAIB for over 20 years, covering the Surrey and Sussex areas, before finally retiring in January 2018 at the age of 80.

David was born in Croydon, Surrey, and was brought up in Norbury by his parents, Helena and Alfred Balcombe. World War Two followed quite soon afterwards and - unlike his two elder sisters, Iris and Doris - he was not evacuated, but remained at home with his parents during the War.

After six years at Selhurst Grammar School, he was employed briefly by the Metropolitan Water Board in London in 1954, before being called up for National Service (for which he chose the Royal Air Force.)  The following two years were spent mostly in Berlin, Germany – in the days before The Wall was built – and David often described this spell as “The time of his life,” leaving him with a life-long interest in aviation alongside his passion for water-related sports.

Returning to life in his parents’ home, he embarked on a three-year electronic engineering course at a college in South Norwood. This, ultimately, gave him the equivalent of a degree and membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

His first job was in research, but he later joined Pye in Cambridge and Monotype in Redhill. Finally, he was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a civil staff engineer in security systems.

David joined SSAIB in July 1997, where he participated in inspection meetings and several conferences and exhibitions over his two-decade association with the third-party certification body. He was a real gentleman and will missed by all his colleagues.

David is survived by his wife Margaret and their two adopted sons, Julian and Roger. The thoughts of everyone at SSAIB are with them – and the rest of David’s family and friends – at this time.

Posted: 22/06/2020 more >

SSAIB Encourages Firms to Register for IFSEC and FIREX's Training Week Initiative

SSAIB Encourages Firms to Register for IFSEC and FIREX's Training Week Initiative

As the official installer partner for both IFSEC International and FIREX International, SSAIB is imploring its registered firms to register for their Training Week initiative taking place this month.

IFSEC International and FIREX International have linked up with Skills for Security to deliver an exclusive programme of digital training and career development, taking place entirely online on June 22-25.

Leading industry experts will deliver four CPD-accredited training courses aimed at fire and security installers, integrators and engineers, covering the latest in legislation, best practice, compliance and technical skills.

It is an innovative way to stay ahead of the fire and security sectors during the lockdown, helping you refresh your knowledge and add new skills that you may otherwise miss out on.

The sessions will focus on the following critical topics:

• June 22: Intruder Alarm Design and Surveying, covering how to survey sites for a compliant alarm system

• June 23: Advanced Signalling, including requirements and standards of the different transmission types

• June 24: Fire Alarm Design, covering the purpose of fire alarms and best practice for installing and managing them

• June 25: VVS Survey and Design, featuring information about risk assessments, surveying and operational requirements

Each training session is totally free-to-attend, making them the perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge, develop your skills and advance your career, all from the comfort of your home or workplace.

Gerry Dunphy, strategy director of IFSEC and FIREX International, commented: “We’re delighted to partner with Skills for Security to deliver this programme of unmissable training sessions. Many of us are struggling to stay up-to-date with industry developments, or to access career development during the lockdown, so these sessions are an excellent opportunity to keep up with career development, as well as an essential link to the security and fire sectors.

“We hope to see installers, integrators and engineers from across the fire and security sectors take this unique opportunity to continue developing their career, even during this challenging time.”

To seize this unmissable opportunity to attend Training Week for free, simply register your interest in as many sessions as you wish.

Posted: 19/06/2020 more >