Sword Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Sword Services's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Sword Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Working with airports,
especially Heathrow
Co-directors: Sharon Sword
and Lawrence Sword
Airports are major hubs of digital and logistical activity:
a cross-section of modern civilisation. For all of this
to work, though, requires an inordinate number of
installations of equipment. This is why companies like Sword
Services are crucial: they offer exactly these kinds of services,
helping airports – especially Heathrow – to become the
connecting nodes of the modern world. In short, they are
experts in the field of industrial electronic security solutions.
More interestingly still, the whole enterprise is run by Sharon
and Lawrence Sword, functioning both as husband and wife
and as co-directors. They tell
The Parliamentary Review
their work consists of and what high-quality services look like.
What makes up Sword Services
When we founded Sword Services in 1990, we began with a firm vision of what
our values would be. These were, and are to this day, as follows:
» The best possible service » Value for money
» Quick and efficacious delivery » Honesty and transparency
» Reliability » Best practices and standards
These are values that have served us well and remain firmly entrenched in the
company. In addition to these values, we also place great emphasis on our staff’s
training and development (all of them, whatever the department they’re in).
»Co-directors: Sharon Sword
and Lawrence Sword
»Founded in 1990
»Based in Langley, Berkshire
»Service: Industrial electronic
security solutions
»No. of staff: 35
»Supports a local youth football
Sword Services
Highlighting best practice
Wealso make sure that responsibility
and accountability are distributed so
that everyone is involved and that no
one is lumped with excessive burdens.
Our work with airports is so strong
that we are permanently situated
in the Heathrow area, conducting
the installation and maintenance of
specialist systems to both Tier 1 and
Tier 2 suppliers. We also do work more
generally around the southeast of
England, including London, the M25
and M4 corridor areas. During our time
at Heathrow, we have developed an
elaborate knowledge of the area and
its geography, which helps greatly in
the provision of our services. This also
assists us in terms of agility, which is a
prominent and highly valued feature
of ours, and one, moreover, that other
companies – especially larger ones –
cannot easily replicate.
Throughout our existence, we have
installed electrical equipment, including
access control, CCTV, maintenance,
power and structured cable – and
in these areas we have an excellent
reputation for providing genuinely
high-quality service and delivery. The
reasons for our strong reputation are
numerous: one is the rapidity with
which we deliver results; another is the
extent to which our team is trained;
and a third is the close and constant
communication we maintain with our
clients. This latter trait is especially
important, as we feel it’s integral to
our service that updates are frequent
and clear. It’s particularly incumbent
upon us to do this, because much of
our custom is repeat, and we want
to keep these relationships going
into perpetuity, particularly with the
Part of this relationship with clients
means being able to be flexible with
our working windows. To ensure we
cause as little hassle and disturbance
to working environments as possible,
we change our shift patterns to fit
Working flexibly with
During our
time at
Heathrow, we
developed an
knowledge of
the area and
its geography,
which helps
greatly in the
provision of
our services
Ensuring we are future-proof
With the world becoming increasingly
digital, we have had to ensure that
our processes and systems reflect
this fact. One example of this is
CCTV cameras, many of which run
along older analogue principles; we,
however, have digitised all of our
installations. In 24-hour working
environments, like those of airports,
we’ve had to install only the most
up-to-date technologies, such as those
which allow the new IP cameras,
whose cabling we have procured.
This, along with other measures, has
meant that we’ve managed to reduce
the number of cameras necessary for
proper coverage by 15 per cent. This is
a prime example of how we can bring
cost-effectiveness to our clients.
Another case study is when we had
to fix a car park access control in
2017. While the car park was still in
operation, we had to decommission
the old system and install a new one.
To this end we worked with other
specialists to co-ordinate the working
programme, and we delivered the new
system with minimal disruption. The
transition was seamless and testified
yet again to our ability to be reliable
and undisruptive.
Other examples of the kind of work we
engage in are as follows:
»Information displays
»Panic alarms
»Passport control
»Automatic door systems
»Security detection systems
»UK Border Agency access)
»Terminal management system
»Outstations and substations
»Restricted zone boundaries
»Queue management system
»Integrated service panels
What the future has in store
It would be remiss at this point not to
mention the forthcoming third runway,
which presents both challenges and
opportunities. It presents opportunities
in the sense that there will be more
economic activity taking place there,
thereby producing more potential
projects for us. However, it also poses
challenges because larger companies
will carry out work for next to no
money, which could in some cases
price experienced and agile companies
like us out of the picture.
Another challenge to consider is that
we’ve found that banks are not always
as supportive as one might expect, so
our funding has had to come mostly
from ourselves. This makes things very
difficult when, as often happens in
our industry, companies do not stick
to their payment terms. Planning for
the future and expanding are always
made more difficult by this ever-
In any case, these are all challenges
we have faced in the past and
will successfully surmount in the
future. This is because we have the
experience, agility and skills that are
so valued by our clients – and our
ability in these respects is evidenced
by, and recognised through, our
With the world
digital, we have
had to ensure
that our
processes and
systems reflect
this fact
Improving airport


This article was sponsored by Sword Services. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy