Security Buyer talks exclusively to Alex Carmichael, Chief Executive, SSAIB, to find out the ins and outs of certification in the security industry
How did SSAIB come about and why was it formed?
The beginnings of SSAIB stretch back to 1990, when the Security Services Association (SSA) was formed in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.
However, by 1994, the SSA firms wanted to be third-party inspected and – as there was no certification body servicing the needs of small firms – it was agreed to re-constitute the SSA as an inspectorate and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) was formed.
Since then, SSAIB has grown to become the leading certification body for organisations providing security systems, security services, fire alarm systems and services. As the security and safety industry continues to evolve, SSAIB will be at the vanguard of ensuring that there is a high-class third-party certification to support the micro-SME market
Why is SSAIB certification important to the industry and what benefit(s) does it bring to firms?
Quite simply, SSAIB certification is a mark of excellence. Our approach is inclusive of small and larger providers alike and we have over 1,900 companies registered, which means that we represent the greatest number of security and fire service providers in the sector.
Third-party certification plays an increasingly important differentiator role in enabling firms to compete and show excellence in the marketplace, while access to some market sectors may be conditional on having it.
We are focused on meeting the certification needs of the security industry and will develop additional schemes as the industry requires. The objective of SSAIB is to contribute to raising standards and ensuring our schemes add value to the businesses we register, which will continue to be our guiding principle.
How does SSAIB help to shape standards?
SSAIB promote high standards of service, within the community of electronic security, security services and fire system and service providers – in the interests of end-users.
This is achieved through rigorous assessment of providers against SSAIB’s scheme criteria and British, European or International Standards, maintained by regular and ongoing audits of management systems and inspection of systems.
We also strongly participate in the development of standards at a British and European level and respond to consultations on regulations to ensure that they are appropriate and workable for the micro-SME market, while also maintaining close liaison with the Police, Fire services and insurance industry – in order to ensure ongoing support for our activities.