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PSIFebruary2017

PANEL “When it comes

PANEL “When it comes to extending individual licensing for our sector, the government’s preference is for industry to take the lead” (from previous page) industry at the wrong time – especially with increased competition from other close verticals such as home automation and the electrical sector – neither of whom adhere to any such scrutiny. We should focus on the continued regulation of our products and the investment in attracting fresh, talented people into our sector. Steve Martin - FSA There’s no question that installer licensing backed by enhanced regulations brings a mark of professionalism and a benchmark recognized by employers, clients and the public at large as assurance of dedicated skill, knowledge and experience. We are all familiar with the Gas Safe register, operated on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the public awareness that surrounds this, with financial consequences if anyone carries out gas work unregistered. When it comes to extending individual licensing for our sector, the government’s preference is for industry to take the lead. This is something we have been doing for some time through certification bodies and third party accreditation, not of individuals (per se) but of the organisation’s ability to provide a specific service, including having relevant skilled staff and management procedures. Positively, the European Service Standard for fire safety and security systems, a project in development, has recently been voted in by the UK, and defines basic levels of competence. This could provide us with a vehicle for the widespread adoption of certification for anyone entrusted with the planning, design, installation, commissioning, handover, maintenance and monitoring of fire safety and security systems. Consequently, this raises the bar, raises the standard and creates a level playing field. Stephen D Green - Security Institute Gas and electrical technicians have long been required by law to be certified as competent, due to the severe safety implications of incompetence. Such an argument could arguably be extended to fire installers, where the price of systemic failure is clearly immediate and dreadful. The case for registration of security installers is, however, more tenuous. For some time there has been cross-industry momentum towards convergence of IT and physical security domains. In support of this strategy, technology has become progressively “smarter”, simplifying the installation of security equipment, and in particular CCTV, such that almost anyone can fit it. Regulation would seem to run counter to this strategy, whilst the failure of security technology, in many cases, would lack the immediate impact required to rouse public concern. However, this does not mean that governance of security system implementation is undesirable. Rather, I would argue, it is the design of such systems where competency is essential and should be proven. The majority of bad, ineffective security systems that exist today were made so not because the installer chose not to follow manufacturer’s advice, but rather through poor initial problem analysis, leading to inappropriate equipment selection, compounded by inadequate deployment. The best installer in the world cannot rectify an illconceived design. I would propose therefore to differentiate the act of installing equipment from that of specifying its type and use, with the latter attracting competency-based barriers to entry. Such a policy would cover not only those companies that provide both capabilities, but would also capture consultants and others that provide design-only services. Proof of discipline competency could be made a prerequisite to purchasing Professional Indemnity insurance, whilst, by requiring sign-off of delivered systems by the designer, the quality of the complete end-product would be assured no matter the identity of the actual installer. Tell us what you think at @SecurityDrum 32 www.psimagazine.co.uk

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