Chair: Martin Gill

Jason Towse, MD Soft Services, Mitie (UK)
Dr. Nicholas Le Saux PhD, CPP, Managing Partner at Atao consulting and European Advisory Council Chairman, ASIS International (France)
Sean Goldrick, Director Strategic Partnerships at Southern Cross Protection (Australia) 
Graeme Hughes, Managing Director, Innovise Software Ltd (UK)

Sponsored by Innovise

Key points

The future of manned guarding will be different. These panellists highlight not just the ways in which things are changing, but also what the implications might be, and how we can begin to think about the differentiators of those manned guarding companies that will do well and those that will fail.

Sean Goldrick echoes a point made by others in previous webinars that the speed with which the pandemic impacted caught many businesses – clients and suppliers –  off guard. One area found wanting has been back of house procedures. In Australia they are ahead of some other countries and are already testing the temperatures of people, counting people in and out of retail outlets/factories, and ensuring quarantine restrictions are met. There are opportunities for the more flexible suppliers to enter into new markets where organisations have a new need for security to cope with the pandemic.

A major aim of security at this time he argues is to educate industry about how to manage the pandemic. There is a chance for security to take the lead here in advising organisations on how they can keep their staff, customers and visitors safe, which of course is also enabling them to meet legal requirements and protect their reputation. Rethinking good corporate governance is not just important now but also should any second wave occur. You will hear a positive outlook from Sean, believing that the higher profile of security now beckons good times ahead, even if a recession follows. Being the champions of the protection of people, being quick to respond, are key components of the future and security is well placed.

Jason Towse notes that security people are good in a time of crisis and feels that is being appreciated. There has been a process of educating clients that suppliers are not immune from the consequences of the virus in terms of furloughing, illness and self isolating, and there has been a need to explain it, but this has been favourably received. Beyond clients there is praise too for the police, the regulator, and the representative association, the BSIA.

As budgets will be restricted moving forward Jason highlights the importance of good systems, the effective use of data, the harnessing of technology to work with people, the importance of PPE for relevant security personnel,  and the importance of representative associations in liaising with the sector stakeholders – not least the police as crime increases and the security sector is exposed to risks on the frontline –  to smooth the transition onto whatever the new normal is. You will likely be interested in his positive comments about the buying process where security fares well compared to other services.

Dr Nicholas Le Saux is more critical of the support received by the security sector in France. Indeed, he reports a breakdown of trust between the sector and the regulator which he does not feel will be easily rectified. He also points blame at laws which make organisations responsible for staff contracting the virus, and in a different way at public sector procurers for consistently buying cheap security which has consequences for that quality of service that is provided. He suggests a boycott may be needed, leaving the public sector to provide for itself and focussing instead on the private sector and clients who care.

He notes that in some ways security has fared well in the crisis, it is operating, often very effectively, unlike other areas of work which have closed down altogether. The aim going forward will be to work with clients to help them manage the extra costs of providing security that will inevitably result from coping with the on-going threat posed by the virus.

Graeme Hughes presents some interesting perspectives on security from around the world. He underlines the importance of good back office operations which is differentiating those security suppliers who are doing well in the crisis from those who are not. He makes the important point that while technologies and data are key to maximising performance there is a skillset to getting this right; you can have too much data and not integrate technology well with people. He calls for a more intelligent approach and underlines the importance of business maturity. He makes some interesting observations about the ways in which the virus is changing practices, for example, by moving away from touching panels and by making more use of mobiles, and in a different way by catching up with other sectors who have been quicker as adopting technology.

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