Specialist Security Ltd MD: "It has largely been business as usual"
Cardiff based firm Specialist Security Ltd provides security solutions to a wide range of businesses across both the private and public sectors. In conversation with The Parliamentary Review, managing director Rachel Fleri discusses how the company has mustered its own response to the coronavirus outbreak while continuing its operations, underpinned by a determination to keep its workforce safe.
Fleri began by highlighting that the company has continued operating since the pandemic started, due to the fact that Specialist Security and its guard workforce falls under the Security Industry Authority [SIA] definition of critical workers.
Fleri said: "The CEO of the SIA, Ian Todd, issued guidelines which set out our status as critical workers, so it has largely been business as usual for us."
The definition of critical workers provided by the Security Industry Authority, which Fleri refers to, reads as follows:
"This definition covers, amongst other areas, security provision in hospitals; schools; social care; courts; government estate; supermarkets and the food supply chain; the transport network; national infrastructure and utilities. If you are providing essential security to a service which itself remains critical and functioning, which attracts critical worker status, then you are likely to be covered.
“Roles essential to supporting law and order, with the potential to reduce demand on policing, also meet the critical worker definition. This would include, amongst other areas, the guarding of empty or closed commercial, retail or office premises; the monitoring of similar through CCTV or other remote means; and the provision of alarm response centres including mobile units."
Specialist Security’s guard workforce has been earmarked for special praise by their managing director for how it has gone about its work during the pandemic.
Fleri lauded them for their commitment in continuing to fulfil their duties, while admitting that enforcing social distancing restrictions for staff members on the job has been the most difficult challenge thus far.
"Our guards have been outstanding and have continued in their roles without complaint. However, our biggest challenge has been ensuring that we can implement control measures that we’ve introduced to reduce the risk of infection."
Although the pandemic has provided some new opportunities in the manned guarding industry for the business, Fleri has cautiously opted not to pursue them, instead preferring to offer support to existing clients and colleagues.
"The pandemic has given rise to opportunities in the manned guarding sector but I have chosen not to chase new work. However, I am supporting current clients and colleagues that have requested our assistance.
"My ultimate priority in all of this is keeping my current workforce safe."
What is a lingering concern for Fleri and the business going forward is the longevity of the UK lockdown, and the fact that a tangible exit strategy is to date non-forthcoming.
Fleri said: "I do have concerns about the continued liquidity of some clients. As we protect their buildings and assets during the lockdown, we are offering credit. If businesses fail, we are at risk of loss ourselves."
What is for certain is that businesses do need an idea of what comes next with regards to the lockdown, as directors of firms across the country anxiously wait for the next government review on the enforced measures. Yet, while the daily hospital death toll remains high, it is unlikely that restrictions will be relaxed any time soon.