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: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-consolidated-list-of-targets/consolidated-list-of-targets.

Coronavirus Q&A

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

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

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 ssaib@ssaib.org.