The pros and cons of using an external security company

Date: 10th Jun 2020   By: Peter McMullan   length: 6 minutes   Tags: Advanced  Estates  

The security requirements of institutions are varied and are impacted by many factors. However all those with the need for manned guarding have to decide whether to employ security guards directly or to use the expertise of an external security company. The decision as to whether to outsource or keep the provision in-house is complex and is often influenced by previous experience of senior leaders within the organisation. A news article we provided previously included generic information on the strategic decisions of outsourcing and featured guidance published by the Cabinet Office in their Outsourcing Playbook, however in this article we take a look at the pros and cons specifically in relation to security service contracts.

Pros

There are many positive impacts of outsourcing service contracts, not least the reduction in the time it takes to recruit and train directly employed staff. However, two key benefits to outsourcing security concern the scalability and flexibility of the service that outsourcing provides as well as often being a more cost-effective approach.

Scalability and flexibility

Working with a security company that offers a range of services, such as manned guarding, mobile patrols and alarm response, means you have greater choice when it comes to creating a physical security strategy that fits the exact needs of the institution. It also makes it easier to scale-up or adapt such provision when business needs evolve. You also have an easy way to manage any one-off events or unplanned incidents that may arise, as you can ask the security provider for additional manpower and support. 

Cost-effective

Employment is expensive in terms of direct and indirect costs such as wage, national insurance, pension contributions, absence (holiday and sickness pay) and other benefits retained by the individual. During those periods of absence, the need for their services remains and as such, it is likely that you’ll need to pay for another person or persons to provide those services in absence of the Security Officer. Those costs can become significant in the unfortunate event of long-term sickness. Should you outsource your security services, you remove your liability and gain cost certainty.  

Additionally, dependent upon the needs of an organisation, guarding can be expensive. An outsourced security company will allow access to some cost-effective alternatives such as remote CCTV and alarm system monitoring supported by a mobile security officer, which enhances security “out of hours”. They work by having a security officer make an agreed number of site visits and checks at random times throughout the night. This can be a strong deterrent, while limiting the time criminals have available to cause damage or steal property.

Cons

There are some disadvantages to outsourcing any service contract but the two key considerations pertaining to security is the quality of providers in the marketplace and the relinquishing of some of the control over the service.

Quality varies between providers

The quality of security companies can vary massively. It’s therefore important to ensure you are going to be working with an experienced team who know what they’re doing. Contingency planning is key, as you need to work with someone you can trust to always deliver on their promises. The SIA register of approved contractors and ACS Pacesetters’ websites are good places to start but always ask for proof of ACS scores. Seek recommendations, ask to view insurance documents and confirm that any claims being made are genuine. Using the CPC Security Services framework agreement to appoint your security services provider takes this work away from you as all the framework providers hold SIA Approved Contractor Status and have passed a stringent due diligence process to obtain their place on the framework.

Less control

When using an external security provider, you must place your trust in the hands of the company. You may not have full control over who comes on site, their appearance or manner. You’ll need to trust that work is being carried out to the level and quality that you are expecting. It may take some time to manage and shape the relationship in the way you want it. Again, this will come down to the quality of the company you work with and their communication and reporting procedures. Using an ACS Approved Contractor reduces this risk significantly, as does using the CPC Security Services framework agreement to appoint your security service provider. All of the framework providers have been evaluated on their approach to training and workforce development as well as quality and contract management. Additionally, CPC are on hand to help support the resolution of any issues that arise during the contract period and will continue to monitor the framework performance.

This content has been developed with the support of Consortio Security, one the approved Security Services Providers on the brand new CPC Security Services framework agreement which launched in April 2020. 

Should you have any queries or would like more information on the CPC Security Services framework please contact our Contract Manager Peter McMullen on P.McMullan@thecpc.ac.uk or 0161 974 0950.