SSAIB News

Alex Carmichael: SSAIB Still Providing Certification Despite Coronavirus Crisis

Alex Carmichael: SSAIB Still Providing Certification Despite Coronavirus Crisis

Chief executive Alex Carmichael is keen to reiterate that SSAIB is fully operational and continues to provide certification for over 1,800 registered firms and new firms looking to join during the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the restrictions imposed by Government - relating to travel and social distancing – the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries has embraced new technology to provide remote audits for certification, surveillance and re-certification, due to the pragmatic and positive approach to the pandemic adopted by the NPCC, BAFE, and the SIA - as they apply to 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 phone lines – to remain operational, but measures such as home working have been introduced to safeguard the health of all SSAIB staff.

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

Alex stated: “As soon as it was first mentioned that this crisis could end up with 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’d need our support more than ever.

“By continuing our operations, we are primarily seeking to support our existing clients while - at the same time - providing an opportunity to gain certification, for organisations seeking certification for the first time.

“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.

“The feedback we’ve had so far from those firms that have had remote audits has been excellent and has more than justified our decision to introduce them.”

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

Alex continued: “These arrangements will remain in place for as long as financial constraints allow.  It may be necessary to amend our services, particularly 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 manner to minimise the impact on the services we provide.

“However, should circumstances change, we will inform our registered firms of any new developments.”

Should anyone have any questions on SSAIB’s new remote auditing procedures for either new or existing SSAIB-registered companies, please give SSAIB a call on 0191 296 3242.

Posted: 17/04/2020 more >

ECHO Suspends Launch of Automated Alarm Signalling Service until July 2020

ECHO Suspends Launch of Automated Alarm Signalling Service until July 2020

As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of ECHO’s new Automated Alarms Signalling Service has been delayed until July 2020.

Following full consultation with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), a statement made on behalf of the ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations) directors revealed their “regrettable, but wholly appropriate step” to suspend the introduction of their new industry-backed initiative until such time that the coronavirus has at least stabilised.

For more information on ECHO, please visit www.echo.uk.net.

Posted: 15/04/2020 more >

SSAIB Urge Registered Firms to Read COVID-19 Cyber Security Advisory Document

SSAIB Urge Registered Firms to Read COVID-19 Cyber Security Advisory Document

SSAIB would like to draw attention to a joint advisory report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US Department of Homeland Security, which published on April 8, 2020.

It provides information on the increasing exploitation of COVID-19 by malicious cyber actors, which includes scam emails appearing as if they came from the World Health Organisation, scanning for vulnerabilities in software and remote working tools – as they look to take advantage of the fact that more people working from home.

The advisory document can be viewed here. Following an email of this nature targeting SSAIB firms being reported to us earlier this week, we would highly recommend all of our registered firms have a read of it – especially those organisations who are currently working from home.

Posted: 09/04/2020 more >

SSAIB Receive Fantastic Remote Audit Feedback from Certification Firm

SSAIB Receive Fantastic Remote Audit Feedback from Certification Firm

SSAIB were thrilled to receive a very complimentary feedback letter from Camrok Electrical and Security owner Clive Kennett – after the sole-trader underwent a remote certification audit this week, due to the on-going Coronavirus pandemic.

The Essex-based intruder alarms installer applied for SSAIB certification back in February 2020, but – as a result of the COVID-19 crisis – was unable to get an initial audit completed before the Government introduced their lockdown restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus on March 23.

However, due to SSAIB introducing remote auditing and liaising with the NPCC to introduce a new temporary process that will allow new applicants to be certificated – Hornchurch sole trader Clive was still able to proceed with his audit as planned, albeit in different circumstances to those that both himself and auditor Peter Cowell are used to.

Clive - who has worked for SSAIB-registered firms before - stated: “I had a remote audit with Peter on Tuesday of this week. Documentation was asked for beforehand and we had a video call on the day.

“I was able to do everything I usually do on an audit, such as providing proof of SDPs [system design proposals], maintenance sheets and emailing my liability insurance through. Seeing Peter on the other side of the screen, was pretty much like he was there in the office (other than making him a cup of tea!)

“You can still swing round to show them what they need to see in the office or any documents via the video aspect of it, so it's just a more technically-savvy way of doing it.

“The world is going to change because of all this. Millions of virtual meetings are currently taking place every day, so I think there'll be less flying around done for meetings and people will come to rely on video conferencing a lot more in time. Therefore, it’s great to see SSAIB getting in ahead of the game by implementing this technology when it’s really needed.”

It was due to SSAIB “embracing communication technology” that Clive felt the need to get in touch, because he’d realised the effort that the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries had gone to adapt and update their working practices to try to minimise the disruption that COVID-19 had on their working practices and knew he had “made the correct decision” when choosing SSAIB.

Clive continued: “When someone does a good job, I believe it's only right that they are told that - as we're quick to leave negative feedback as a society.

“Our work as installers relies on certification relies on Police response and there was an uncertainty as to where all this would leave us really.

“We don't know how long this will go on, so it's great that SSAIB have developed a system that has allowed them to continue to offer certification and carry on auditing their firms.”

While some might wonder why an unregistered firm would push on with trying to achieve third-party certification during such an unpredictable time as this, Clive was quick to reveal his gratitude for the fact he is still getting plenty of work despite the difficult circumstances that the country finds itself in.

Clive added: “I’m really really busy at the moment - despite everything going on - so I don't know if I'm the odd one or not. I'm currently on a farm in Harlow putting CCTV up on a barn, so I've gone from fitting shop alarms to spending time around quite a lot of animals.

“I'm actually very fortunate that the work is still coming in and I'm grateful that it is. You've got to make hay while the sun shines, as they say.”

SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael commented: “I would very much like to thank Clive, on behalf of SSAIB, for his brilliant feedback and also for taking the time to get in touch with us. It is very much appreciated by all of the SSAIB staff and myself.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that we keep providing a first-class third-party certification service to all our registered firms. By continuing our operations, we are primarily seeking to support our existing clients while - at the same time - providing an opportunity to gain certification, for organisations such as Camrok who are seeking certification for the first time.

“Remote auditing is allowing us to stand by our registered firms and continue to support them in their time of need. Only by working together can we get through this bad situation, so I hope to hear many more positive comments regarding our remote audits during the time in which they are needed.” 

Posted: 09/04/2020 more >

SSAIB to continue its operations and now offer Remote Audits

SSAIB to continue its operations and now offer Remote Audits

We are pleased to announce that due to the pragmatic and positive approach to the pandemic adopted by the NPCC, BAFE, SIA and UKAS, as they apply to our certification schemes we are able to continue offering certification services to most new clients and maintain the certification of our existing clients.

Due to the restrictions imposed by government relating to travel and social distancing audits for certification, surveillance and re-certification will need to be conducted remotely. We have amended our ICT infrastructure as required to support our remote operations.

Posted: 09/04/2020 more >