December 2015 work-based learning and colleges update: Security sector
This month's security sector update includes information on some changes to Security Industry Authority (SIA) licencing, the SIA Violence Reduction Strategy and English language requirements for learners on Security Licence to Practice qualifications.
Changes to SIA licencing: what it means for training providers
Next year SIA will be making some changes to the way people can apply for a SIA licence. Some of these changes may mean that the services training providers offer to their customers will need to change as well.
Some training providers choose to assist their learners with the licence application process by acting as a company sponsor and submitting applications through the SIA bulk application service. They do this as a 'value added' service for the learners on their courses, making it part of their sales proposition.
From Spring 2016 this option will no longer be available, as SIA will be discontinuing the bulk application service in its current form. Training providers will still be able to pay for licence applications if they wish, but they will need to do so online through SIA’s Licence Pay Only service and will need to pay by credit/debit card. Training providers will not be able to enter, view or edit the details of any applications; that will need to be done by the applicants themselves.
SIA is telling people in the sector now so that you have time to consider any changes you may wish to make to the services you offer to your learners.
SIA violence reduction strategy
SIA has developed a strategy to reduce violence associated with private security, such as violence directed towards security operatives whilst they are doing their jobs or violence committed by security operatives themselves. The strategy aims to identify measures which will help reduce violence and associated deaths and injuries in the night time economy and elsewhere.
SIA has created a violence reduction guidance section on their website, where you'll find third party guidance on tackling and reducing work-related violence towards employees and business. It provides information on a wide range of possible control measures and good practice that other organisations have found effective, such as the HSE ‘Managing Work-Related Violence in Licensed and Retail Premises’ leaflet.
Centres may find this information useful for the delivery of the licence linked Security qualifications. It is also suggested that centres advise learners of the materials available on the website as a guide to best practice to working in the private security industry.
English language requirements for learners on Security Licence to Practise qualifications
There has been an increase in the number of complaints made to the SIA about the English language skills of SIA licence holders.
Centres are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that each learner is sufficiently competent in the use of the English language and MUST ensure that learners have sufficient language skills before putting learners forward for assessment. Learners must be able to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing, having the appropriate communication skills to be able to, for example, make calls to the emergency services or to resolve conflict.
As a reminder, you are required to explain to your Standards Verifier how you ensure each learner is sufficiently competent in the use of the English language before they commence any programme and how you record this. You are required to retain English assessment records for non native speakers with the other assessment documentation for learners for a period of 3 years after certification.
In line with SIA requirements, Pearson sets tests which are available in English only. Therefore, it is not appropriate for learners for whom English is their second language to be provided with a scribe or reader to assist them in their assessment. To do so would provide an unfair advantage to the learner. The policy on the use of English is available on the SIA website.
You are advised to carry out an initial assessment of learners to identify their particular needs at the earliest stage. In the case of learners for whom English language communication skills are a weakness (and other particular special needs considerations do not apply), it would be appropriate to direct them to undertake additional learning to develop these skills. You are required to retain English assessment records for non native speakers with the other assessment documentation for learners for a period of 3 years after certification.
SIA is taking allegations that licence holders do not have the requisite language skills very seriously, and as a result of their investigations into this matter a number of licences have already been revoked this year.