EarnFlex: News and articles https://www.earnflex.com/news-articles EarnFlex: News and articles en-GB Tue, 09 Apr 2024 11:59:30 GMT<![CDATA[Call for Input: SIA's Consultation on New Business Approval Scheme and Labour Providers]]>SIA seeks public and private parties to participate in a consultation via an online survey or written submissions by 04 April 2024. Participation is essential for those interested in security standards and public protection.

The complete consultation draft can be read here.

EarnFlex, as a technology-based labour provider, finds it exciting that SIA is listening and planning to fix issues with the current ACS Scheme and Labour providers. If the draft is implemented, some of the critical changes suggested for ACS-approved businesses can avoid many loopholes in the scheme that security providers use to exploit the system by hiding behind the ACS scheme. 

Some of the exciting points highlighted in the draft are:

  • To communicate the business capacity to SIA and their clients, i.e., the number of SIA-approved workers on their books, not the 100's of subcontractors they use. (Consultation draft Pages 34)
  • Inform about a short list of subcontractors and labour providers they work with with their internal audit reports. (Consultation draft Pages 36)
  • Ensuring customers are fully aware (for example, in contracts and writing) that a sub-contractor will deliver the service or part of it, not the parent company who got the contract. (Consultation draft Pages 37)
  • Limits and restrictions on further sub-contracting – for example, should contracts only be sub-contracted a specific number of times down (say 2 or 3) or without notifying us and limiting the percentage of work in the company's portfolio that can be sub-contracted in this way. (Consultation draft Pages 38)

The easiest way to get involved is to complete the SIA online survey. SIA has included the consultation questions in this document. The survey will take around 20 minutes, depending on how much detail you provide in additional boxes. Once you start the online survey, you can save and return to it anytime.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/call-for-input-sias-consultation-on-new-business-approval-scheme-and-labour-providershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/call-for-input-sias-consultation-on-new-business-approval-scheme-and-labour-providershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/call-for-input-sias-consultation-on-new-business-approval-scheme-and-labour-providersTue, 19 Mar 2024 14:29:03 GMT
<![CDATA[Streamlining Your Development Workflow: Mastering the 12 Most Common Git Commands]]>Version control is an essential part of the modern development workflow. It enables developers to work together on code without chaos, and Git is the version control system at the heart of many of these collaborative projects. Whether you're a seasoned developer or new to the coding world, mastering Git commands is crucial. Here's a rundown of the 12 most common Git commands to get you on track.

 

Getting Started with Repositories

1. git init: This is your starting line. Run this command in your project's directory to turn it into a Git repository. It's like declaring, "Let the coding begin!"

2. git clone: When you want to collaborate or continue working on an existing project on your local machine, git clone is the magic spell. It copies an existing remote repository, complete with all its history.

 

Working with Changes

3. git add: Ready to commit? Before recording your changes, you need to stage them with Git Add. Think of it as putting your files onto the stage for the next scene of your coding play.

4. git commit: With git commit, you take a snapshot of your staged changes. Each commit is a checkpoint you can return to, complete with a descriptive message.

5. git status: Ever feel lost in your code? Run git status, and you'll see which changes are staged, which aren't, and which files aren't being tracked by Git.

6. git push: After committing your changes locally, git push sends your commits to a remote repository. It's like publishing your work for others to see and collaborate on.

 

Integrating Changes

7. git pull: To integrate updates from a remote repository into your current branch, git pull is your go-to. It fetches and merges changes automatically, keeping you in sync with your team.

8. git branch: Need to work on a new feature or fix a bug? Use the git branch to switch contexts without affecting the main codebase. It's like creating a parallel universe for your code.

9. git checkout: To navigate between branches, git checkout is your teleport command. It switches your working directory to the branch you specify.

 

Merging and Comparing

10. git merge: When you're ready to integrate your parallel universe back into the main codebase, git merge weaves your branch's history into the current branch.

11. git diff: Spot the differences! Git diff is the command for the curious coder who wants to see what changed between commits, branches, or even the files in the staging area.

12. git log: Are you curious about your project's history? A git log is like a time machine, showing you the list of commits, complete with messages, authors, and timestamps.

 

Conclusion

Master these 12 commands, and you'll have a solid foundation for using Git effectively. Whether through command line magic or a GUI tool, these commands are your bread and butter for successful version control. Embrace them, and you'll be on your way to a more productive and organised coding life.

 

 

Remember, the journey of a thousand lines of code begins with a single commit!

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/streamlining-your-development-workflow-mastering-the-12-most-common-git-commandshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/streamlining-your-development-workflow-mastering-the-12-most-common-git-commandshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/streamlining-your-development-workflow-mastering-the-12-most-common-git-commandsMon, 18 Mar 2024 05:37:53 GMT
<![CDATA[Finalists of the Security & Safety Entrepreneur Awards announced]]>As the finalists of the inaugural Security & Safety Entrepreneur Awards are unveiled, EarnFlex stands out as a finalist in two prestigious categories: "Entrepreneurial Business of the Year: up to £10m" and "Market Disruptor of the Year." This recognition underscores our innovative contributions to the security and safety industry, underscoring our potential to influence the FM and Security market sector significantly.

Since its launch in 2023, the SSEAs have been a platform to honour and applaud the accomplishments of entrepreneurs, regardless of their business's age or sector. They celebrate those who contribute to the security and safety industry by offering services or products available in the UK.

The independent judging panel, many of whom are entrepreneurs themselves, have decided the 2024 finalists. The complete list of finalists can be found here.

Finalists now advance to the next phase of the competition, and winners will be revealed at a drinks reception at 13:00 on Tuesday, April 30th, at The Security Event (TSE), NEC, Birmingham.

The SSEAs have been set up in collaboration with key industry associations and groups and were started with the help of founding supporters, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), The Banks Foundation (TBFL), and Skills for Security.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/finalists-of-the-security-safety-entrepreneur-awardshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/finalists-of-the-security-safety-entrepreneur-awardshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/finalists-of-the-security-safety-entrepreneur-awardsThu, 07 Mar 2024 16:39:37 GMT
<![CDATA[You will cancel your ChatGPT subscription today, and here is why...]]>You will cancel your ChatGPT subscription today, and here is why. Google has just announced Google Gemini in all the workspaces. This strategic move not only elevates the user experience in applications like Docs, Gmail, Meet, Slides, and Sheets but also introduces a standalone space for interactive dialogues with the AI, ensuring user privacy and data integrity.

Gemini differs from previous AI assistants, such as ChatGPT, in that it focuses on enterprise demands while prioritising privacy. It complements Google's suite by providing specialised functions that boost productivity and collaboration without jeopardising security.

I asked Gemini to write a summary of my business partner's relationship. It did so by extracting files from my emails and Google Drive, going through hundreds of documents, correspondence, and Excel sheets we kept for that client, and providing me with an excellent summary that included a perfect paragraph.

Gemini Business plan is aimed at teams starting to adopt AI at £14 per month.

In addition to the Gemini launch, Google revealed the Gemma AI models. These models demonstrate Google's commitment to responsible AI development by providing scalable solutions for businesses to innovate while addressing ethical concerns. Gemma models in various sizes demonstrate Google's forethought in establishing an open AI research and application environment.
As we look ahead, the intersection of AI and enterprise tools is set to redefine our approach to work, collaboration, and innovation. Google's latest offerings, Gemini and Gemma, are at the forefront of this transformation, promising a future where AI empowers businesses with more efficient, secure, and intuitive ways to work.

As we look ahead, the convergence of AI and corporate tools is poised to transform our work, collaboration, and innovation approach. Google's latest solutions, Gemini and Gemma, are at the forefront of this shift, promising a future in which AI enables enterprises to function more efficiently, securely, and intuitively.

EarnFlex is proud to lead the FM industry with AI-based workforce management solutions for compliance, forging partnerships with large businesses and their labour supply chain with live work assurance.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/you-will-cancel-your-chatgpt-subscription-today-and-here-is-whyhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/you-will-cancel-your-chatgpt-subscription-today-and-here-is-whyhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/you-will-cancel-your-chatgpt-subscription-today-and-here-is-whyThu, 22 Feb 2024 13:23:48 GMT
<![CDATA[2024 Vision and the Evolution of the UK's Security Industry Giants]]>As we look ahead to 2024, the UK security sector's landscape is increasingly shaped by its leading companies' dynamic performance and strategic growth. The turnover data from 2021 to 2023 provides insightful trends and forecasts for what to expect in the coming year.

Source - [Statitsa]

The Vanguard of Security Systems in 2024

Mitie (TSM), leading the chart with a consistently growing turnover, reaching £935.40M in 2023, exemplifies the robustness and scalability of top security companies. Their trajectory signals a strong foundation for further expansion in 2024, reinforcing their position as a top player in the industry.

G4S/Allied Universal's significant jump in turnover from £375.57M in 2021 to £633.21M in 2023 showcases the impact of strategic mergers and acquisitions. This solidifies its status as one of the biggest security companies and highlights the growing importance of cybersecurity capabilities within traditional security firms.

OCS Group UK and Bidvest Noonan have shown remarkable adaptability and growth, with OCS's turnover surging to £320.00M in 2023. Their performances underscore the diversification of services and the increasing reliance on technology-driven solutions.

Cyber Security at the Forefront

The rise of cyber security companies in 2024 is inevitable as digital threats become more sophisticated. Companies like Securitas Security Services, which have demonstrated steady growth, are expected to invest further in cyber security services, aligning with the global push towards securing digital assets and infrastructure.

Security Company Grading and Recognition

The security company grading in 2024 will likely emphasise physical security expertise, cyber security, and technological innovation. This holistic approach to security grading will help businesses and consumers identify the best security partners for their needs.

 

Company Name2021 Turnover (in M GBP)2022 Turnover (in M GBP)2023 Turnover (in M GBP)
Mitie (TSM)924.8931.9935.4
G4S/Allied Universal375.57638.52633.21
OCS Group UK 190213320
Bidvest Noonan300300302
Securitas Security Services250244.08293
Kingdom Security86.55130140
CIS Security7579124
ICTS (UK) LIMITED85107121
Wilson James120.18121116.7
Corps Security 90.5104.21115
ISS Facility Services 959598
Carlisle Security Services728696.35
Amberstone77.387.8286.71
SSGC 102.278280.18
SecuriGroup-6678
Loomis UK 115.6174.8572.01
Amulet--67.5
Ward Security--66
Profile Security Services59.5-65
Man Commercial Protection5861.464

Source - [Statitsa]

The Outlook for 2024

As we anticipate the challenges and opportunities that 2024 will bring, it's clear that the top security companies will offer a comprehensive suite of services, including cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions. The focus will increasingly be on companies seamlessly integrating traditional security measures with digital protections, offering clients a robust defence mechanism against all threats.

The UK security industry is set for another year of growth, innovation, and strategic partnerships. With a keen eye on the latest technological advancements and a solid commitment to excellence, the best cyber security companies of 2024 will safeguard our communities, assets, and digital landscapes.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/2024-vision-and-the-evolution-of-the-uks-security-industry-giantshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/2024-vision-and-the-evolution-of-the-uks-security-industry-giantshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/2024-vision-and-the-evolution-of-the-uks-security-industry-giantsThu, 15 Feb 2024 14:30:15 GMT
<![CDATA[Decoding the Age Gap: SIA Licensing and Career Longevity in the UK Security Industry]]>In 2023, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in the United Kingdom had 412,918 active licence holders, with those in their 30s accounting for 100,478 of them. This figure demonstrates how important the SIA is to the private security industry in the UK. The SIA's regulatory role is essential for many positions in this sector, including security guards, CCTV operators, door supervisors, and other security-related positions. An SIA licence is a prerequisite for certain positions, guaranteeing that employees fulfil the conduct and training requirements specific to the security sector.

The high number of licence holders in their 30s may reflect career patterns or the appeal of the security sector to people in this age range. The SIA's regulatory monitoring helps to maintain professional standards in the sector, which improves public trust and safety. The requirement for SIA licencing in various areas within the security sector is an important step in ensuring that personnel in these roles are competent, adequately trained, and capable of handling the obligations that come with their positions.

The fact that SIA licence holders are more common in their 30s but become less numerous in their 40s and 50s indicates that security officers need to view the security industry as a long-term career path. Low compensation, strange hours, and few chances for job progression could all contribute to this. These elements make it more challenging to recruit and retain employees. Due to rising training expenses, rigorous screening, and the perception that security jobs are transient, the sector requires assistance in hiring and retaining security guards. Staff retention is further impacted by alternatives that offer better compensation and working conditions. Even with some improvements—such as increased pay and more guard duties—there are still significant obstacles to professional advancement and job attraction. To address these, measures such as more accessible training, enhanced industry perception, and better salaries are suggested. 

The industry must address the structural causes of the decline of licence holders as they get older—into their 40s and 50s. This entails looking at ways to significantly increase the sustainability and desirability of security employment in addition to compliance. Companies, training providers, and policymakers must work together to establish work environments encouraging sustained engagement, offering competitive pay, and establishing clear career tracks. Therefore, the industry bears some of the accountability rather than just regulators. The sector may secure a more stable and experienced staff by addressing these difficulties with job longevity. This will eventually benefit the industry, its employees, and the people it serves. 

Ref: For detailed insights, the SIA's complete reports on the website provide more information GOV.UK website.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/decoding-the-age-gap-sia-licensing-and-career-longevity-in-the-uk-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/decoding-the-age-gap-sia-licensing-and-career-longevity-in-the-uk-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/decoding-the-age-gap-sia-licensing-and-career-longevity-in-the-uk-security-industryMon, 05 Feb 2024 09:34:04 GMT
<![CDATA[Securing Trust: Navigating the Vetting and Compliance Landscape of the UK's Security Industry]]>The physical security industry in the UK faces severe vetting and compliance challenges because of the nature of the work and the high standards of trust and responsibility required.

Enhanced Background Checks for Security Personnel

Scenario:

A security company in the UK is contracted to provide personnel for a high-profile government facility. This requires the security staff to have access to sensitive areas and confidential information.

Challenge:

  1. DBS Checks: For such sensitive roles, standard background checks might not be enough. The company needs to perform Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks on every employee. These are more thorough than basic checks and include any additional information that local police have that is reasonably thought to be relevant to the role.
  2. Right to Work, Identity Verification and References checks: A fundamental compliance requirement is ID checks and ensuring all personnel have the legal right to work in the UK. This involves verifying identity and right-to-work documents and keeping abreast of changes in immigration laws, especially post-Brexit. The UK government has certified several digital ID verification platforms to perform digital ID checks. These identity verification services use advanced technology to authenticate people's identities online by analyzing government-issued IDs and video-based facial recognition.
  3. Sector-Specific Training and Qualifications: Compliance with the SIA (Security Industry Authority) regulations, which include ensuring all staff have the relevant SIA licenses for their roles, such as door supervision or close protection. These licenses require specific training and qualifications.
  4. Ongoing Compliance and Audits (BS7858): The sector is subject to regular audits and inspections by regulatory bodies. The company must maintain meticulous records of their vetting processes, training records, and other compliance documents.
  5. Automated Document Management (DMS) & Regular Updates: On average, over ten personal documents must be kept on each security worker to comply with the UK regulation bodies as per the BS7858 standards. These documents must always be kept refreshed; with an automated Document Management System, staying abreast of all the changed documents is not trivial.
  6. Data Protection and GDPR: The personal data collected during the vetting process must be handled in accordance with GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act. This includes secure storage of sensitive information and ensuring it's used only for vetting.

Impact:

These challenges can lead to significant operational complexities. The company must invest in robust HR, compliance processes and technology, stay updated with the latest regulations, and potentially face delays in staffing due to the thorough nature of these checks. Non-compliance can result in legal penalties, loss of reputation, or even revocation of the license to operate in the security sector.undermust

This example highlights how vetting and compliance in the UK physical security sector are not just about ticking boxes but ensuring the integrity and reliability of security personnel, which is crucial given the sensitive nature of their work.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/securing-trust-navigating-the-vetting-and-compliance-landscape-of-the-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/securing-trust-navigating-the-vetting-and-compliance-landscape-of-the-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/securing-trust-navigating-the-vetting-and-compliance-landscape-of-the-uks-security-industrySun, 28 Jan 2024 21:05:51 GMT
<![CDATA[Enhancing Security Workforce Development: EarnFlex Joins Forces with IFPO]]>We're thrilled to announce that EarnFlex has joined IFPO

The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) is dedicated to enhancing the professional standing of security officers and supervisors. They focus on advocacy, promoting training standards, and providing accessible training, education, and certification opportunities. IFPO offers a range of educational programs that are meaningful and cost-effective for security guards and protection officers. The Foundation emphasizes the importance of education in professional development for those charged with protecting others and aims to contribute globally in this field.

With our shared values of frontline worker welfare, we are excited to partner with IFPO to improve the financial and professional well-being of the security workforce in the UK. 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/enhancing-security-workforce-development-earnflex-joins-forces-with-ifpohttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/enhancing-security-workforce-development-earnflex-joins-forces-with-ifpohttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/enhancing-security-workforce-development-earnflex-joins-forces-with-ifpoFri, 26 Jan 2024 17:25:29 GMT
<![CDATA[UK Security Sector year end roud-up: Urgent Reforms in Training, Protection, and Pay]]>Here is a year-roundup to highlight the critical issues faced by UK security operatives in 2023, based on a survey by Working the Doors (WTD). The survey identified three main areas needing urgent attention: training, pay rates, and legal protection for security officers.

  1. Training: The industry faces a significant need for improved training. Despite the UK Government introducing mandatory top-up training, which includes anti-terror and first-aid training, most costs fall on the operatives. Many operatives consider this unfair, especially in light of the UK's cost of living crisis and stagnant wages in the sector.
  2. Legal Protection: Security operatives lack legal protections against assault, unlike other emergency workers. WTD advocates for government intervention to provide legal protections, suggesting a new Security Workers Act or amending the existing Assaults on Emergency Workers Act to include security workers.
  3. Pay Rates: Although there has been a slight improvement since 2008, the average pay for security operatives is still low, ranging from £10 to £12 per hour, which does not reflect the responsibilities and risks of the job. This has resulted in a decline in licence renewals and may drive new hires looking for better pay elsewhere, particularly during the holidays when a sharp increase in warehouse and delivery jobs lures officers away for up to £17–18 per hour.

The article highlights the need for solutions that benefit the security business and society. Recommendations from the Manchester Arena Inquiry, such as extending rules and SIA licencing, are considered steps towards raising standards and pay.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/uk-security-sector-year-end-roudup-urgent-reforms-in-training-protection-and-payhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/uk-security-sector-year-end-roudup-urgent-reforms-in-training-protection-and-payhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/uk-security-sector-year-end-roudup-urgent-reforms-in-training-protection-and-paySun, 07 Jan 2024 12:42:33 GMT
<![CDATA[EarnFlex secures SFC Capital Funding to Support Growth]]>EarnFlex, the next-generation flexible staffing platform, has announced that it has been backed by the UK's leading early-stage investment firm SFC Capital, via a recent seed round. EarnFlex is transforming front-line worker hiring, onboarding and management practices for the Facilities Management industry and beyond.

EarnFlex’s AI-enabled technology platform enables businesses to find and hire vetted front-line workers at short notice. Automated vetting workflows, shift analytics, and assurance allow customers to deliver a compliant and superior service to their customers.

Waqas Ahmed, CEO of EarnFlex commented: “We are excited that EarnFlex has received funding from SFC Capital, who are investing in the innovations of tomorrow. The investment supports our aggressive growth strategy and enables us to further develop our technology platform.”

Ed Stevenson, Investment Executive at SFC Capital said: “We are delighted to back EarnFlex on their growth journey. It's an exciting technology that is solving some of the most critical challenges of our time – workforce shortages and the cost of living crisis.”

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/earnflex-secures-sfc-capital-funding-to-support-growthhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/earnflex-secures-sfc-capital-funding-to-support-growthhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/earnflex-secures-sfc-capital-funding-to-support-growthTue, 19 Dec 2023 10:54:19 GMT
<![CDATA[Navigating the Future: How AI Regulation Will Impact Recruitment Businesses]]>We at EarnFlex absolutely welcome the new AI regulation agreement recently reached by the EU. Recruitment businesses that use AI for candidate matching, face recognition, and data-driven pattern matching, such as Earnflex.com, are poised to undergo significant changes for the better. The regulatory framework, designed to establish the world's first comprehensive laws to regulate AI, will impact how these businesses operate and leverage artificial intelligence in their processes.

 

The new regulations are expected to impose guidelines and limitations on the use of AI, particularly in areas involving sensitive information, such as face recognition and data processing for candidate matching. Recruitment firms may need to reassess their practises to ensure compliance with the established standards, particularly data privacy, transparency, and accountability.

 

Face recognition technology in recruitment may face heightened scrutiny, with the regulations requiring businesses to obtain explicit consent from candidates for such practices. Additionally, transparency in AI decision-making processes and disclosure of the algorithms used in candidate matching will likely be mandated to ensure fairness and prevent bias.

 

While the regulations may pose challenges, they also present opportunities for recruitment businesses to enhance the quality of their work. Organizations can build trust with clients and candidates by adapting to the new standards demonstrating a commitment to ethical and responsible AI use. This may involve investing in explainable AI technologies and robust data protection measures.

 

Ultimately, the impact of AI regulation on recruitment businesses will depend on how effectively they can align their practices with the evolving legal landscape. As the industry adjusts to these new standards, there is potential for improved transparency, fairness, and overall quality in the recruitment processes powered by AI.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/08/eu-agrees-historic-deal-with-worlds-first-laws-to-regulate-ai

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/navigating-the-future-how-ai-regulation-will-impact-recruitment-businesseshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/navigating-the-future-how-ai-regulation-will-impact-recruitment-businesseshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/navigating-the-future-how-ai-regulation-will-impact-recruitment-businessesSat, 09 Dec 2023 15:46:37 GMT
<![CDATA[The Prince's Trust's free SIA training programmes for females in London]]>Security companies actively promote and recruit women because they recognize the correlation between diversity and business success. Female security officers perform well under pressure, adopt a collaborative and empathetic approach, seek to resolve disputes through dialogue and understanding, and are excellent team players. The security industry can benefit immensely from greater inclusion of women. The benefits of diversifying the security workforce are clear. However, the question remains: how can we attract more women into the security industry? Flexible working opportunities are a great way to attract female talent in the industry. EarnFlex strongly supports flexible working to attract a diverse workforce and regularly posts numerous flexible working opportunities on its platform.

 

The free SIA operative course is an excellent opportunity for females to get into a security career. The Prince’s Trust and Triforce are running a free training programme for females aged 18-30 based in London and interested in obtaining their SIA Badge. 

 

Registration Days: 

  • Mon 27th Nov - South London
  • Tues 28th East London

SIA Training Dates: 

11th - 19th December (excluding weekends)

Location: Central London

  • Free Level 2 Award for Working as a Door Supervisor within the Private Security Industry
  • Free SIA badge for those who complete the course, enabling you to apply for work as a door supervisor or a security officer and access roles across the security industry

To register your interest, please email mohammed@princes-trust.org.uk. (The Prince’s Trust)

-----------------------

 

 

See how much you can earn working as a security operative in London and the UK.

https://earnflex.com/find-work

 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-princes-trusts-free-sia-training-programmes-for-females-in-londonhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-princes-trusts-free-sia-training-programmes-for-females-in-londonhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-princes-trusts-free-sia-training-programmes-for-females-in-londonSat, 18 Nov 2023 17:40:08 GMT
<![CDATA[Why layers of subcontracting is terrible for UK workers?]]>Layers of subcontracting are decimating the UK security industry. It is terrible for business and can be detrimental to workers in the UK for several reasons.

Lack of job security

Firstly, subcontracting can create a lack of job security for workers, as they are not employed directly by the main contractor. This means they may have fewer employment rights and be more vulnerable to dismissal or changes in working conditions.

Bad working conditions

Secondly, subcontracting can lead to bad working conditions for workers, as the main contractor may need direct control over the conditions under which subcontractors' employees work. This can include inadequate health and safety measures, low pay, and long working hours.

No accountability for the treatment of workers

Thirdly, subcontracting can result in a lack of accountability for treating workers, as the main contractor may be able to distance themselves from any mistreatment of workers by subcontractors. This can make it difficult for workers to seek redress for any issues.

Reduced capability to negotiate for better wages and working conditions

Finally, subcontracting can make it more difficult for workers to unionize and negotiate for better wages and working conditions, as they may be spread out among several subcontractors rather than concentrated in one workplace.

 

All these factors can result in a poor working environment for the workers. EarnFlex never provides its workforce through subcontracts and always engages directly with the workers, mainly through PAYE arrangement or, in some cases, as self-employed when an employee is registered with HMRC with a UTR number. This ensures that EarnFlex controls employees' well-being and can pass better rates to the workers by eliminating the intermediary.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-layers-of-subcontracting-is-terrible-for-uk-workershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-layers-of-subcontracting-is-terrible-for-uk-workershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-layers-of-subcontracting-is-terrible-for-uk-workersMon, 16 Oct 2023 13:33:01 GMT
<![CDATA[5 things that improve efficiency of a security management back office ]]>Let's face it: coordinating people is tricky. Not everyone has the same levels of professionalism, time management and qualifications. It is simply a 'human thing', and this diversity brings vibrance to our communities. However, in a professional setting, particularly in the domain of Security, effective and efficient coordination of qualified and fit security officers does not allow room for errors. After all, the safety of people's property, well-being and even their lives depends on the Security Operative(s) at the site. Here are five things to consider while engaging security officers to avoid any undesired occurrences down the road. 

  1. Quick resource allocation:Before signing a contract with any security company, it is wise to see something that indicates the number of officers and their locations. This assists in gauging how quickly, or if at all, the company will be able to provide the officers you need. The company's officer database may be confidential, but you can ask about the areas where their officers are working or how many shifts they arrange officers for. Any assurances and merely assurances that may or may not be considered a contractual commitment. To have appropriate expectations, you must have your requirements and their assurances in a formally binding contract. 
     
  2. Verified SIA license 
    Any individual working in the UK's security industry must have an SIA (Security Industry Authority) license. After passing specific training courses for their desired roles, this license is issued to individuals. SIA also conducts background checks for each individual, which include police records, visa status, and work permits (for no residents). Without this SIA license, working in the security industry is illegal. Seeing the SIA license physically is insufficient to ensure the license's validity. The license does indicate an expiration date and the role for which the license was awarded. However, for instance, it does not indicate if the license was cancelled due to criminal activity a few months ago. While contracting a security company, see if their database of officers is linked with SIA's database for license verification.
     
  3. BS7858 vetting and evidence 
    The British Standard 7858 is a set of documents which assists employers in screening security personnel before employing them. BS7858 checks include proof of identity, residence and visa status, work permits, police and criminal records, credit history and fraud, and employment history. The extensive check provides enough information to screen security personnel. A strong security company will have a BS7858 vetting along with evidence for each check for each officer. Always ask for this document set for the officers working on your site. 
     
  4. No blowouts 
    The nature of Security is such that it requires around-the-clock 7-day-a-week engagement. Security Officers are people and, as such, are susceptible to circumstances that may not allow them to reach their sites on time or at all. However, not having a security operative at your site can expose you to undesired incidents. While contracting a security company, see their policy and practice for missed attendance (AKA blowouts). How quickly can they arrange an alternate officer at your site if the one assigned cannot be there? 
     
  5. Hassle-free shift monitoring and payments
    Does it make a sound if a tree falls in the forest when no one is watching? Would the client know if a security officer does not patrol their assigned areas during their night shift? And if so, should they pay for such a shift? The client pays for security cover of their premises; the security company assures them that their premises will be covered as requested. However, what evidence can the client see indicating if the cover was per commitment before approving the payment? While contracting a security company, see the evidence they record to justify the quality of the shift. Should they have a simple form indicating "Shift completed as assigned, nothing to report" for most of their shifts, they may not be recording evidence property, and the client may be paying for a shift that was not as per the contract.

Managing security shifts at a site requires constant vigilance, flexibility, resourcefulness, and documentary evidence. Until RoboCop or Skynet becomes active, people must perform all these tasks promptly and efficiently. However, until Skynet's era, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can substantially facilitate Security Shift management. EarnFlex.com is an industry-leading front-line resource provider that combines people-power with AI power to render reliability and confidence, regulatory compliance, and delivery assurance in service operations.

We have a large pool of SIA licensed, and BS7858 verified professional security operatives across the UK and geo-mapping for each of the operatives. This geo-map enables us to arrange alternate security officers for sites in minutes. Our pool of security operatives is linked with SIA's database. So any SIA licence change is updated instantly on our database. Furthermore, our AI-powered system automatically conducts a 10-point verification once an officer initiates a 'book off' to ensure the shift was delivered as contracted. This final report is presented to our operations department to confirm. Once the verification review is complete, the shift is marked as 'completed', and a soft copy is shared with the client.  

Give EarnFlex.com a call today, and let us connect you with the future of Security Shift management. 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/5-things-that-improve-efficiency-of-a-security-management-back-officehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/5-things-that-improve-efficiency-of-a-security-management-back-officehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/5-things-that-improve-efficiency-of-a-security-management-back-officeFri, 29 Sep 2023 14:50:33 GMT
<![CDATA[Vetting Process for High-Quality Care Providers]]>EarnFlex's vetting process is designed to ensure that all staff have the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience to provide high-quality care to clients while also meeting legal requirements. The process includes several steps, such as:

  1. Application and documentation review: All applicants must complete an online application and provide relevant documentation, such as their CV, proof of identity, proof of address, and any relevant qualifications or certificates. This documentation is reviewed by the EarnFlex team to ensure that all necessary information is provided and meets the required standards.
  2. Employment history and reference checks: EarnFlex conducts thorough employment history and reference checks for all applicants. This includes contacting previous employers and references to verify the applicant's work history, performance, and suitability for the role.
  3. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check: All staff are required to have a valid DBS check, which verifies their criminal history and any relevant information that may affect their suitability for the role.
  4. Right to work check: EarnFlex automatically checks the applicant's right to work in the UK, as required by law. This check verifies that the applicant has the legal right to work in the UK and helps prevent illegal work.
  5. Skills and competency assessments: Depending on the role, EarnFlex may conduct additional skills and competency assessments to ensure applicants have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide high-quality care for clients.
  6. Verification of the Care Certificate: As part of the vetting process, EarnFlex verifies that appropriate evidence is in place to validate that the worker has obtained the Care Certificate. This is essential in ensuring that clients receive care from qualified and competent professionals.

Overall, EarnFlex's vetting process is designed to ensure that all staff meet the necessary standards for providing high-quality care to clients while complying with legal requirements. By conducting thorough checks and assessments and using automatic checks where appropriate, EarnFlex helps to ensure that clients receive care from qualified, experienced, and legally eligible professionals. 

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<![CDATA[Robust vetting processes for ensuring compliance of flexible workers in EarnFlex]]>At EarnFlex, we are committed to providing our customers the highest quality care and realted services, and we understand that this requires a skilled and compliant workforce. To achieve this, we have implemented robust processes to vet the Care Certificate and Right to Work status of all our flexible workers before allocating them to work.

To verify the Care Certificate, we require that all candidates provide evidence of completion, such as a certificate of completion or a training record. However, we understand that not all candidates may have completed the Care Certificate, so we also offer training to help workers obtain this certification. Investing in our workers' skills and knowledge is essential to providing high-quality patient care.

Furthermore, we do not simply take our workers' word for it when it comes to their Care certificates. We have implemented an auditing process to sample and check the validity of these certificates with relevant training providers, ensuring that the evidence provided is accurate and reliable.

Additionally, we take our responsibility to verify the right-to-work status of our workers seriously. We thoroughly check original copies of candidates' passports, visas, or other relevant documentation, as the law requires. Furthermore, we use advanced AI technology to continuously monitor our workers' Right to Work status, ensuring they remain eligible to work in the UK.

By implementing these rigorous vetting processes, including auditing and sample checking Care Certificate evidence, and continuous monitoring of Right to Work status, we can ensure that we only deploy qualified and compliant workers to provide high-quality care to patients in the UK. At EarnFlex, we are committed to delivering the highest standard of care, and investing in our workforce and vetting processes is essential to achieving this goal.

#EarnFlex #CareCertificate #RighttoWork #FlexibleWorkers #Compliance #HighQualityCare #AITechnology

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/robust-vetting-processes-for-ensuring-compliance-of-flexible-workers-in-earnflexhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/robust-vetting-processes-for-ensuring-compliance-of-flexible-workers-in-earnflexhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/robust-vetting-processes-for-ensuring-compliance-of-flexible-workers-in-earnflexWed, 12 Apr 2023 08:33:50 GMT
<![CDATA[How do we fix the recruitment crisis in the care sector?]]>Attention all UK care providers and professionals!

 

Did you know the UK care sector has a recruitment crisis? According to Skills for Care's annual report, "The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England," there were approximately 122,000 vacancies in adult social care in 2019/20. Furthermore, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) predicts that demand for care services will increase by around 3% annually until 2033, driven by an ageing population and increasing numbers of people with long-term conditions. So care providers must find innovative solutions to fill this gap and ensure that vulnerable individuals receive the support they need.

 

One solution is flexible workers supporting care providers to meet users' needs. These individuals can be deployed as and when required, providing additional support during busy periods and helping to maintain continuity of care. Furthermore, flexible workers can provide a valuable source of staff cover during absences and holidays, ensuring the smooth running of care services.

At EarnFlex, we understand the importance of paying care staff a fair wage. That's why we pay all our care staff above the Living Wage Foundation rate. As a result, we can attract and retain skilled and dedicated individuals in the sector by providing competitive wages. It's fair and necessary to ensure that care providers can continue to provide high-quality care services.

As the demand for care services continues to rise, finding innovative solutions to address the recruitment shortage crisis is essential. Care providers can ensure that individuals receive the support they need by employing flexible workers and providing them a competitive wage. In addition, staff are appropriately rewarded for their valuable contribution.

 

Let's work together to ensure that everyone receives the care they deserve.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-do-we-fix-the-recruitment-crisis-in-the-care-sectorhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-do-we-fix-the-recruitment-crisis-in-the-care-sectorhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-do-we-fix-the-recruitment-crisis-in-the-care-sectorSat, 25 Mar 2023 17:45:47 GMT
<![CDATA[What is SIA Security License?]]>What is an SIA Security License?

 

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is a UK government agency responsible for regulating the private security industry. The SIA issues licenses to individuals who work in specific security industry sectors, such as door supervision, security guarding, and close protection.

 

An SIA Security License is a certificate issued by the SIA to individuals who have undergone background checks and training and meet the standards set by the SIA. The license demonstrates that the individual is qualified to work in their chosen security industry sector.

 

The SIA license aims to promote high standards of professionalism, conduct, and training in the private security industry and to protect the public from harm. An SIA license is required for certain security-related activities in the UK, such as working as a security guard, door supervisor, or close protection officer.

 

Having an SIA license is essential to working in the UK security industry and is often a requirement for employment. However, it is necessary to note that the SIA license only applies to security-related activities in the UK and is not recognized outside of the country.

 

What is the cost of an SIA security guard license?

 

The cost of an SIA Security Guard license in the UK varies depending on several factors, such as the type of training you choose and the company you take the training from. However, on average, you can expect to pay between £150 and £500 for an SIA security guard license.

 

Researching different training providers and comparing their prices and services is essential to finding the best option. Remember that the license cost is just one part of the overall cost of working in the security industry. You may also need to purchase equipment and a uniform and cover travel expenses to and from training and work.

 

Some employers may offer to cover the license cost as part of your employment package. For example, suppose you're considering a career in the security industry. In that case, it may be a good idea to research the job market and salary expectations to get a sense of what you can expect to earn and what costs you may be responsible for.

 

How long is the validity of my SIA license?

 

The validity period of an SIA license depends on the type of license you have. In general, SIA licenses are valid for three years from the date of issue. After three years, you will need to renew your license to continue working in the security industry.

 

You must complete a renewal application and pay a fee to renew your license. You may also need to provide evidence of continued professional development (CPD) or training to renew your license.

 

It's essential to check the specific requirements for renewing your SIA license and plan to continue it before it expires. If your license expires, you can work in the security industry once you have renewed it.

 

Which SIA security license is best?

 

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is a UK government agency responsible for regulating the private security industry. The SIA issues licenses for various security-related activities, including door supervision and close protection.

 

The "best" SIA license depends on your specific career goals and the type of security work you want to do. Here are a few popular SIA licenses:

 

SIA Door Supervisor License: This license is required for individuals who work as door supervisors in licensed premises, such as nightclubs and bars.

 

SIA Close Protection License: This license is required for individuals who work as bodyguards and provide close protection to clients.

 

SIA CCTV Operator License: This license is required for individuals who operate closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems for surveillance.

 

Ultimately, the best SIA license for you will depend on your skills, experience, and career aspirations. Therefore, you should consider your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the demands of the job market, when deciding which SIA license is suitable for you.

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<![CDATA[How to Become a Security Guard in the United Kingdom]]>How to Become a Security Guard in the United Kingdom?

There are no educational requirements to becoming a Security Guard in the United Kingdom you need a front-line Security Industry Authority (SIA) license.

Do I need an SIA Security Guard License?

If you are working as a security guard in the UK, you may require an SIA (Security Industry Authority) Security Guard License. The requirement for licensing depends on the type of service being provided. According to the SIA, a security guard license is required for anyone who is providing security guard services, including:

  • Guarding premises against unauthorized access or theft
  • Protecting a person or persons against assault or harassment
  • Controlling access to, and egress from, a premises

 

It's important to check the specific requirements for the type of security work you will perform and the relevant regulations in your area. You can find more information on the SIA website.

 

Do you need a license for security?

 

It depends on the type of security license you are referring to. For some security activities, such as working as a security guard, a license is required by law. For others, such as using security software, no license is required.

In many countries, security guards must be licensed and undergo training to carry out their duties effectively and legally.

It's important to check the laws in your specific country or state to determine if a license is required for the type of security you're interested in.

 

How to get Security Industry Authority?

 

To get a Security Industry Authority (SIA) license in the UK, you need to follow these steps:

 

Determine the type of license you need: There are different types of SIA licenses for different security activities. You can find more information on the SIA website about the specific licenses required for each activity.

 

Check eligibility criteria: You need to meet specific eligibility criteria to be granted an SIA license. This includes having the right to work in the UK and passing identity and criminal record checks.

 

Complete the required training: The SIA requires specific training to be completed for each type of license. This can be done through an SIA-approved training provider.

 

Apply for the license: Once you have completed the necessary training, you can apply for the license by submitting an application form and paying the relevant fee to the SIA.

 

Wait for the decision: The SIA will review your application and notify you of their decision. If your application is successful, you will receive your license, which must be renewed every three years.

 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-to-become-a-security-guard-in-the-united-kingdomhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-to-become-a-security-guard-in-the-united-kingdomhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-to-become-a-security-guard-in-the-united-kingdomWed, 08 Feb 2023 08:44:16 GMT
<![CDATA[Christmas is the season for peace]]>Christmas is the season for peace, joy, and fellowship with family and friends. May the festive spirit fill your heart and homes with an abundance of mercy, contentment, laughter, and harmony.

Here's to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from EarnFlex.com

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/christmas-is-the-season-for-peacehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/christmas-is-the-season-for-peacehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/christmas-is-the-season-for-peaceMon, 26 Dec 2022 06:44:32 GMT
<![CDATA[Subcontracting in UKs Security Industry and the risks]]>Subcontracting involves engaging an outside company or individual to satisfy specific parts of a contract. In other words, through subcontracting, a security company employs another company or individual to provide the number of security guards committed on contract to the client. At first, this practice may seem appropriate given the circumstances; after all, even the best security companies in the UK cannot possibly have adequate people resources in every corner of the country. However, just like any managerial strategy, subcontracting comes with risks that the clients are often unaware of. 

Reduced wages 

For a client concerned about fair work and fair pay, the most significant risk subcontracting presents is a reduction in wages for the security officer in the field. Consider this; a client engages a security company, 'Company-A', to provide two security operatives at their premises in Lundy Island. The client agrees to pay £14 per hour for each security operative. These security officers must be SIA licenced, BS7858 vetted, and professional. Company-A does not have such officers in Lundy; however, they have previously worked with 'Company-B', who has a presence in Lundy. So, Company-A pays Company-B £2 per hour for each security officer and subcontracts them. Before paying security officers in Lundy, Company-A deducts a commission of £3. Therefore, the final wage these security officers receive is £9 per hour, as opposed to £11 per hour had there been no subcontract. 

With each subcontract, the principal company (the one that signs a contract with the client) will have to pay a commission to meet the contract requirements. This has a cascading effect on the security officer's wages.

Limited Due-Diligence and compliance issues

An exhaustive due diligence process is required before engaging any security officer. These include SIA licence checks and BS7858 vetting. Without these checks, there is no way of knowing if the 'security officer' engaged can legally work in the UK's security industry. In the case of subcontracting, the client may be briefed about the in-depth due-diligence process Company A conducts for each of its officers; however, the client may not be informed about the quality of the screening process conducted by Company B. 

Consequences are severe for employing individuals who do not have a right to work in the UK, with a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker. Besides financial implications, an unlicenced security officer may pose a risk to the community they operate in and the client's reputation. 

Wage responsibility and ownership  

Ownership of responsibilities is simple and straightforward when only two parties are involved in a contract, the client and the security company. The client is responsible for expressing their requirements clearly and agreeing on the wages and payment schedules. The security company is responsible for understanding and agreeing to satisfy the client's requirements and taking ownership of the legal requirements for engaging security operatives. In the instance of a subcontract, commonly, the client does not sign a contract with the subcontracted company and, therefore, cannot pursue them in case there is an undesired occurrence. Furthermore, the principal company may pin the responsibility on the subcontracted company. This back and forth creates chaos for all involved. 

How to avoid the chaos 

Subcontracting is a common practice in UK's security industry, and if executed properly (which is rare), it can assist in reasonably facilitating the client, the security company, and the security officers. However, the risks are substantial and warrant careful consideration backed up by legally binding black and white. Here are elements that can ensure subcontracting is fair for all parties involved. 

  1. Put a 'Subcontracting clause in the principal contract' - Clients should ensure the contract with any security company has a subcontracting clause mentioned in the agreement and that the terms and conditions are appropriate. This is not to encourage subcontracting; it is a legal measure to ensure in case subcontracting is done, the terms, responsibilities and expectations are formally agreed upon between the client and primary security company. 
     
  2. Agreement on fair wages – While signing a contract with any security company, there needs to be a formal agreement between the client and the principal security company regarding the actual wages paid to the security officers in the field. 
     
  3. Responsibility for due diligence – There needs to be a clear understanding between the client and the principal security company regarding due diligence. If subcontracting is employed, the principal security company should ensure all due diligence steps are taken before sending security officers in the field.

Contracting EarnFlex (Ltd) 

We understand subcontracting has more risks than advantages. As an industry-leading front-line resource provider, our top two priorities are to ensure clients' requirements are satisfied, and our people resources receive fair payment for their service. Reach out to us today, and let us discuss how we can assist you with fairly paid professional security operatives across the UK. 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/subcontracting-in-uks-security-industry-and-the-riskshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/subcontracting-in-uks-security-industry-and-the-riskshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/subcontracting-in-uks-security-industry-and-the-risksTue, 30 Aug 2022 11:16:08 GMT
<![CDATA[Why “Professionalism” counts in UK’s Security Industry]]>Becoming a licensed Security Officer in the UK

Those pursuing a career as Security Personnel in the UK must satisfy a rigorous process before they can work legally in the security industry. Although they need an appropriate Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence, they are also expected to undergo a meticulous BS-7858 vetting process that assists employers in screening security personnel before employing them. To secure an SIA licence, aspiring security personnel must take training specific for their desired roles, such as Door Supervisor, Public Space Surveillance (CCTV), Close Protection, etc. Whereas to satisfy BS-7858 checks, the candidates must prove with evidence, to mention a few, that they have worked in the past (5-10 years) with good standings, they have acquired appropriate SIA licence, are legally permitted to work in the UK and have not been involved in any fraud or illegal activities. These requirements are set to ensure the security personnel charged with keeping the peace can discharge their duties  professionally, and ethically. With such rigorous and resource taxing procedures, it is fair to expect security personnel to be professional and reasonable in their actions. However, a recent incident in Manchester reveals the unsatisfactory evaluation level of ‘professionalism’ of security personnel. 

An unfortunate incident

A boy, understood to be 14 years old, was violently pushed to the ground from behind by a security officer employed by UltraSec Security. Video footage shows the security officer wearing a high-visibility tabard running up to the student from behind, wrapping his arms around the pupil’s waist and violently pushing him to the ground. Co-op Academy Manchester, based in Higher Blackley, north Manchester, confirmed an internal investigation was underway. 

The explanations provided

The principal Chris Beard in a message to the parents, said, "A member of the security team, provided by an external company, used physical intervention to deal with a student's behaviour. We are formally investigating the matter". One wonders how severe the student's behaviour must have been that warranted such a violent physical intervention. The principal added that the student was "safe and well", and the school had spoken with his family. He added, "As a result of this incident, the security guard involved will not be on-site whilst we investigate what happened. Incidents such as this are not representative of our community. Mr Beard goes on to write "On a personal note, I am troubled by what has happened, and I want to make sure that all parents and careers know that we are taking immediate action."

UltraSec Security, in a statement, confirmed it was made aware of the incident. A spokesman said” “The security guard has been suspended pending a full investigation. UltraSec Security is working with Co-op Academy Manchester to ensure a full and in-depth investigation is completed. Our role in schools is to ensure the safety of students; we are taking this incident very seriously”.

The incident is indeed unfortunate, as it indicates elements of excessive force. Considering this force was used on an approximately 14-year-old boy further highlights that perhaps ‘professionalism’ may not be a consideration as long as any security personnel has secured an SIA license and satisfied BS-7858 requirements. The question that emerges is a simple one, yet it has implications for the entire community; who is responsible for ensuring the security personnel entrusted with safeguarding shall carry out their duties in a fair, respectable and professional manner? 

Where EarnFlex (Ltd) stands out

For recruiting Security Officers, usually, the presence of an SIA license is enough to place operatives in the field. However, EarnFlex (Ltd) believes such sensitive responsibility warrants a detailed evaluation of any officer’s suitability before formal engagement. 

Recruiting Security Personnel at EarnFlex (Ltd) is a multi-layered process with elements designed to evaluate each applicant’s reliability and professionalism in a security role. For each applicant, the first step is a verification of the licence directly from the SIA database to ensure the validity of the licence. The second is a rigorous BS-7858 vetting in which the applicant is asked to submit seven documents as specified in the British Standard -7858. The third element is an evaluation of professionalism, starting when an applicant submits their application and concludes in a formal interview. By carefully observing the applicant’s interaction, their choice of words, quality of documents submitted and responses to carefully tailored interview questions, EarnFlex (Ltd)’s HR team assesses the professionalism levels of each applicant. Should the applicant not be able to satisfy any one of these elements, their application is refused. 

This recruitment process is indeed resource taxing; however, it ensures each client receives what they expect; Security Officers who are licenced and will always discharge their duties professionally and ethically.

 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-professionalism-counts-in-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-professionalism-counts-in-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-professionalism-counts-in-uks-security-industryTue, 23 Aug 2022 08:47:09 GMT
<![CDATA[Time to upgrade UK’s security Industry with Digitization & Automation]]>Olivia is a 28-year-old dynamic operations assistant who works for a UK-based security contractor. Her organisation has approximately 15000 people across the UK registered as Janitorial/Cleaning staff and Security Officers. With a large and diverse client base, the contractor manages up to 200 Janitorial and Security shifts a day on average. The contractor enjoyed a good rapport with its clients and was renowned for its professionalism, reliability, and competitive pricing. In January of 2022, however, it started pouring for the company, and Olivia, who was quite an expert operations person, found herself gasping to bring things under control.
 

Robbers on a milk run:  
Owners of a large-scale warehouse had engaged the contractor to provide 14 SIA licenced officers for 24/7 physical security cover at the premises. For almost a year, security officers were regular and presented themselves for duty as on contract. However, during an eventful January evening, the duty officer did not show up at the warehouse. Olivia was not contacted; therefore, an alternate officer could not be arranged – the premises remained unguarded. The following day, Olivia was shocked to see the news: “Warehouse robbed by two masked intruders – approximately £ 1 million worth of laptops stolen”. The warehouse owners called Olivia and said they would take the company to court for damages.  

Friendly threat at the Bank:
An established bank was one of the company’s valued clients for three years. They engaged licenced and trained security officers to supervise entry points at the bank. In mid-January, on a usual Tuesday, the bank manager called Olivia shortly before the close of business and told her that an unlicensed person carrying out the shift had misbehaved with one of their customers. Olivia called the officer she thought was on duty. She discovered that the officer gave his badge to his friend and sent him to cover his shift. Although Olivia tried to assure the bank manager, they considered the event a gross breach of contract and terminated their engagement with the company. The bank also filed a formal complaint with SIA.  

Rumble at the residence:
One of the company’s oldest contracts was providing door supervision for a residential building. On a Monday morning in January, the owner called Olivia and told her that a security officer had physically assaulted one of the new residents late Sunday evenings and that this resident had filed a formal complaint with the police. After speaking with the officer, Olivia reviewed hardcopies of his documents which she found to be current and complete. The police found details that the officer's files did not reveal. The police informed Olivia that the officer had a history of physical violence and that his SIA badge was cancelled.  


Aspects that jeopardised Olivia's company  
Olivia’s company is presently litigating cases on two fronts. They are fighting a £3 million lawsuit for loss of property and gross negligence for the incident at the warehouse. In addition, SIA is conducting an in-depth inquiry for malpractice for the happenings at the bank and the residential building. Olivia’s company may lose their SIA registration as an ‘approved contractor’ in addition to losing up to £3 million. Olivia's company did not have vital systems that put it in such a dire situation.  

  1. There was no mechanism in place with the company for Olivia to know if an officer had reached the shift on time or not. Without such information, the company could not manage blow-outs appropriately.
  2. No mechanism at Olivia's company could verify the security officer's identity on a shift. Without such a system, the company could not confirm if an SIA-licenced security officer was on duty or someone else who was not registered with them.  
  3. Olivia could not have known since her company only collected physical documents from officers. They were not linked with the SIA database and, given their workload, did not bother much with BS7858 vetting.  

 

Where EarnFlex shines  
Relying on people-power alone in an era where technology can be a solid ally to run operations efficiently is quite unwise. EarnFlex.com is an industry-leading front-line resource provider that has combined people-power with AI power to render reliability and confidence along with regulatory compliance and delivery assurance in service operations.  

  • Geo-mapped security personnel: All SIA licensed security personnel registered with EarnFlex are mapped within a set perimeter around the client’s site for arranging alternate officers quickly and reliably. This reduces ‘blow-out’ risks to nearly 0%.
     
  • Current SIA licence check: Our system automatically connects with the SIA database and checks each officer’s SIA licence status at multiple stages: at the time of assigning the shift, when the officer starts the shift (book-on), and finally, at the time the officer concludes the shift (book-off). Without book on/offs, the officer does not get paid, and management is immediately notified.  
     
  • Shift Delivery Assurance report: Our AI-powered system automatically conducts a 10-point verification once an officer initiates ‘book off’ to ensure the shift was delivered as contracted. This final report is presented to our operations department to confirm. Once the verification review is complete, the change is marked as ‘completed’, and a soft copy is shared with the client.  

Keeping track of each security officer registered with the company requires tactful arrangements. Failure to do so can bring castles down in a mere month. We welcome a conversation with you on how EarnFlex can ensure your rapport and fortunes working in the services industry grows further.  

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/time-to-upgrade-uks-security-industry-with-digitization-automationhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/time-to-upgrade-uks-security-industry-with-digitization-automationhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/time-to-upgrade-uks-security-industry-with-digitization-automationMon, 27 Jun 2022 09:02:57 GMT
<![CDATA[The rise of Flex-work and the UK’s Security Industry]]>Industries across the UK are facing a recruitment crisis due to socio-economic changes over the last couple of years. The country’s security industry is among the brunt of this crisis. James Oliver, Head of People Resources at a recruitment company, reflects on how these socio-economic challenges are fuelling recruitment issues in the security services sector.

Brexit coupled with the COVID pandemic resulted in many security officers being placed on furlough. This “time-off” allowed them to reconsider their place and career choices and highlighted significant challenges a security officer navigates daily for the industry. The shifts are long and are often high-risk, with little to no on-site support. The compensation is relatively low considering their exposure to risks, compliance and licensing costs, and expenses. As a result, we see a ‘great resignation’ in motion as workers want higher pay with lower stress. 

Seven critical challenges to recruitment in UK’s Security Industry 

  1. COVID-19:
    To maintain social distancing at public venues, many security officers were placed on high-risk front-line roles with additional responsibilities. Many officers contracted COVID from resulting exposures.
     
  2. Brexit:
    Brexit has rendered a significant impact on labour across the UK. Among other industries, the security sector is perhaps the most affected. Many EU workers have either not renewed their visas and have returned or are not seeking work in the UK.  
     
  3. Costly compliance:
    Workers in the security industry are typically engaged on a zero-hour contract and paid minimum wage. Appropriate compliance and licencing required for Security jobs are expensive to a point where they can be ‘unaffordable’ amidst rising tax rates, national insurance, and household expenses. As a result, many experienced officers prefer to seek work in other industries.
     
  4. Compulsory top-up training:
    As of October 2021, all security officers must complete SIA top-up training in their respective fields. On average, this training costs £150 per officer, in addition to the £190 licence renewal fee. In addition to paying the additional cost, officers are often required to take unpaid time away from their jobs to attend top-up training. 
     
  5. Licensing backlog:
    COVID and resulting furlough coupled with office closures have created a backlog on applications and training processing such as license renewals. Without appropriate licensing security, officers can take shifts. Other personal expenses, such as living costs, taxes, and insurance, however, continue to remain punctual. Not being able to meet their costs and fearing a negative impact on their credit scores, many offices have gradually moved out of the security industry.
     
  6. High expectations:
    Those above have contributed to higher client and employee expectations. Both sides expect a quicker turnaround in successful placements, more options to choose from and higher negotiation opportunities.
     
  7. Subcontracting cascade:
    Contractors in the industry often cannot meet clients’ demand for trained and licenced security officers at specific locations. To honour their contract with the client, they resort to engaging other contractors to fulfil the requirement at a fraction of the cost committed by the client. This endeavour creates a client-biased environment where although the employer gets their demanded security officer; however, the security officer receives only a tiny fraction of the wage decided between the client and the primary contractor.

The solution to the crisis

Oliver suggests that the solution to UK’s security industry recruitment rests in somewhat keeping up with the tides without any client/contractor bias.

Both sides are justified in their demands. Clients want well-trained and licenced security operatives at their premises on different shifts. Licenced security operatives wish for fair wages, reduced risks, and more options (changes and locations). Both sides also have their own financial and social challenges. The solution to the crisis is ‘Flexibility’.
 

  • Flexibility of shifts :
    Depending on the job site, clients typically request 24/7 security cover divided into two shifts: business and non-business hours. If the officer on the shift is trained and has an active SIA licenced, the client does not prefer the same officer carrying out all the shifts in most cases. Dividing these shifts into paid sub-shifts on different days allows security officers to choose what day and timeslot suit them best. This arrangement benefits both the client and the security officer. The client can have a continuous shift cover, while security officers can manage their work-life balance better. The security officer can, for instance, pursue the required SIA top-up training without having to take unpaid time off.
     
  •  Flexibility in engagement:
    ‘Blow-outs’ jeopardises the security at a client’s premises. A blow-out occurs when a security officer commits a security shift but does not appear for duty. It is essential to realise that blow-outs are not related to an officer’s professionalism – a blow-out can result from circumstances beyond control. However, a blow-out's impact can be significant for a client. Flexibility in engagement implies that an alternate is readily available to take their place if a particular officer cannot make their committed shift. In this manner, the client does not lose security cover, while the officers do not feel pressured to make their shifts regardless of their situation.
     
  • Flexibility in fair earning:
    With the option to choose as many paid sub-shifts as their situation allows, the security officers can better manage their expenses without demanding too high a wage. For example, consider Mathew, a security officer with a monthly cost of £1,500. With this flexible work arrangement, Mathew will need to work at least four days on 8-hour shifts at £12 per hour to meet his expenses. If Mathew decides to work for 6 hours a day, he will be able to exceed his monthly payments. This flexible earning allows Mathew to manage his monthly income without burdening the employer.

The recent shifts in ways of doing business and earning money brought about by socio-political and economic circumstances have highlighted a new norm, typical 9-5 may not work for many people. The need of the day is to consider a flexible work arrangement that caters to the needs of the worker in a manner that does not jeopardise the employer's profitability.

 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-rise-of-flex-work-and-the-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-rise-of-flex-work-and-the-uks-security-industryhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-rise-of-flex-work-and-the-uks-security-industryThu, 23 Jun 2022 12:14:15 GMT
<![CDATA[Fixing the FM industry’s broken clock-in/out process using facial recognition]]>Since the disruption caused by the COVID pandemic, Facilities Management (FM) businesses and contract owners have been desperate to find new ways to track employee hours, reduce blowouts and calculate payroll with assurance. With the high uptake of workers’ flexible shifts during COVID and lack of dedicated human contact and supervision, a next-gen time and attendance system must operate seamlessly across mixed working patterns, flexitime/shift-work, multiple sites, and payment centres.

Anyone running a large-scale FM control centre will appreciate that managing hundreds of daily shifts is error-prone and challenging. Especially the challenge becomes even more complicated with multiple subcontracting layers involved in providing the workforce to deliver contracts to demanding customers at varied schedules.

EarnFlex technology is designed to simplify and scale the FM industry’s broken clock-in/out process by utilizing AI and facial recognition technologies along with location built into its smart free-to-download and use App. Facial recognition technology opens new digital opportunities and changes the dynamics of the how FM industry oversees the workforce.

A medium-large scale FM company faces three main challenges when ensuring that an operative delivers the job on customers’ site.

1- The worker does not show up and does not inform anyone of his unplanned (planned) absence — The blowout.

2- The worker does not adhere to the contracted hours and either comes in late or leaves early.

3- The worker sends someone else, a friend, to cover his shift. Often the person replacing the contracted worker does not have the necessary licenses and permits, jeopardizing the business as the insurance will be invalid and it’s a breach of contract.

EarnFlex work assurance system

EarnFlex worker recognition and shift to location mapping system is based on Facebook’s face recognition algorithms in the DeepFace library. It uses reference images, usually from an identity document like a passport or license and a live BookOn/Off photo taken by the operative through our App. The system is designed to recognize the person and match his identity with the submitted documents. The primary facial recognition algorithms used by EarnFlex technology are based on state-of-the-art Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) and provide best-in-class results.

Facial recognition is an exciting area of science which is getting mature enough to improve the day-to-day use-cases. However, the system is underpinned by the consistent human face structure across all the images. Slight differences are essential, especially when taking a picture from different mobile camera types in various lighting conditions with varying face angles. Facebook DeepFace Libray directly address this issue and is the critical reason EarnFlex face recognition is so effective.

Humans know a lot about human faces, and it seems only reasonable that a model could benefit from some human support. DeepFace, Facebook’s facial recognition model, used this human knowledge about the dataset and the task to develop a multi-step pipeline.

- Detect the face in the image/face cropping. This step removes the arbitrary background from the image, such that the face is the subject of recognition.

- Identify facial landmarks. This is the visual equivalent of putting a “mesh” on the face; several points corresponding to various facial landmarks like the centre of the forehead or the nose are identified.

- Frontalization. Using these data points, the face is “warped”, so the person faces forward. Two people might look different if they’re looking in different directions, so this correction helps highlight potential differences in identity.

- Pass preprocessed face into the neural network. Once the person’s face has been aligned and adjusted, it is passed into the neural network to classify. [source: DeepFace paper]

Especially in this current time, it may be surprising how extensive this pipeline is. The first three steps of facial detection, landmark identification, and frontalization are not trivial. Furthermore, many human assumptions are being made, such as:

- Facial detection algorithms do not obscure vital features, like the bottom of the jaw or the tip of the forehead.

- Frontalization is helpful to the model.

- Frontalization does not obscure or distort essential elements.

Nevertheless, DeepFace was conceived early in deep learning’s meteoric rise. Previously, more traditional machine learning algorithms like Linear Discriminant Analysis and Support Vector Machines were employed. Instead, DeepFace approached human performance on facial recognition and made impressive improvements in computer accuracy.

There is less reliance on preprocessing and postprocessing and instead greater trust that the model, given the correct framing of the task, can go farther than any human can. Human domain knowledge continues to cease providing help, and AI models will continue to increase in generality across various contexts. Each passing Book-On/Off image that the EarnFlex App successfully recognizes helps improve the face recognition model. It increases the accuracy and trust of businesses and workers in the effective and practical use of this technology.

In short, it’s a “winner takes all” in the AI tech. We believe EarnFlex is the first to the market with AI-led Book On/Off detection system for the FM industry. We know that our model will continue to improve with each book-on, making it more challenging for an incumbent company to compete with our technology on this crucial feature.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/fixing-the-fm-industrys-broken-clock-in-out-process-using-facial-recognitionhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/fixing-the-fm-industrys-broken-clock-in-out-process-using-facial-recognitionhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/fixing-the-fm-industrys-broken-clock-in-out-process-using-facial-recognitionSat, 11 Jun 2022 15:54:39 GMT
<![CDATA[AirTags – Security threat in a tiny package]]>Brookes Nader, a 26-year-old Sports Illustrated model, was walking home from a wonderful night out in New York when she received a rather disturbing notification on her iPhone prompting her that she was carrying an “unknown accessory” and that “This item has been moving with you for a while – the owner can see its location”. Nader discovered that someone had discreetly put an Apple AirTag in her coat pocket earlier in the evening. Without her knowledge, the small almost coin-sized device had tracked her location for hours before Apple’s abuse prevention system triggered the notification to her phone.

At 3:00 pm on December 27th, a 32-year-old mother of four, Ashley Estrada, was at her friend’s home in Los Angeles when she received a notification on her phone telling her that an unknown device had been following her movements. Surprised, she went to the ‘Find My’ app on her iPhone and saw her entire route. Ashley says, “It showed me my who route. It said, ‘the last time the owner saw your location was 15:02’ and I was like ‘that is now, I’m at home”. She rang the police who told her they didn’t know what to do. Ashley has yet to find the device, which she believes is somewhere in her car. She says: “I watch my surroundings closely now.”

Much like any technology, AirTags are susceptible to misuse. Several cases have been reported around the world where people found these devices on their property, either in their coat pockets, handbags or even discreetly hidden in their cars. Mark from 22DIV Toronto Police says that thieves are using AirTags to mark vehicles. The device is magnetic so it can be hidden behind license plates or even in a fuel-tank lid. Thieves use the location data to follow your car to your home and when you are sound asleep, they steal your car.


How do AirTags work?

Apple’s AirTag is a 1.26-inch disc that assists people to keep a track of their items like keys, wallets, backpacks, etc. It can also help an owner find their car parked in a busy parking lot. Being small and magnetic, AirTags can be placed in the most discrete places, like the coin slot in a wallet, a coat pocket, or the exhaust pipe of a vehicle. The replaceable battery can provide accurate location updates from across the globe to the owner for up to a year and does not require an internet connection to do so. The tiny plastic and steel button houses a small speaker, antennae, a Bluetooth chip, Apple's custom-made U1 chip and a replaceable battery. It does not use GPS to report location data, instead, AirTags connect with any nearby Apple products (the host) using Bluetooth and piggyback the host’s GPS and signal to report location data to the owner. You can learn more about its functions here

 

How to protect yourself

For Apple/iPhone users:

If you get a notification saying: "there is an AirTag near you" or "An unknown accessory is sharing your location"; use your phone's location service to pinpoint the AirTag, and immediately call 999. Give the police your exact location and where you found the AirTag (your purse, coat pocket, car, etc).

For Android users:

Install Tracker Detect, an android app developed by Apple that serves the same purpose. If an AirTag is near you (up to 30 feet) for approximately 20 minutes, the app will notify you about its presence. If an AirTag is found near you, and you did not place it there, immediately call 999. Give the police your exact location and where you found the AirTag (your purse, coat pocket, car, etc).

 You could disable the AirTag yourself by twisting it and removing the battery. However, it is best not to touch the AirTag since the police can collect fingerprints from the device and take action against the owner. Besides, chances are that the owner of the AirTag is already aware of your exact location. It is best to inform the police and have them investigate your surroundings.

 

Sources:

Apple AirTags - 'A perfect tool for stalking' - BBC News

‘I was just really scared’: Apple AirTags lead to stalking complaints | Technology | The Guardian

How Apple AirTags are being used by criminals - YouTube

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/airtags-security-threat-in-a-tiny-packagehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/airtags-security-threat-in-a-tiny-packagehttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/airtags-security-threat-in-a-tiny-packageMon, 30 May 2022 09:49:41 GMT
<![CDATA[IFSEC 2022 Trends and Observations]]>Over 30000 visitors attended  IFSEC this year (2022). It is an excellent place for security professionals to meet with almost everyone important in the security industry and collect valuable advice from expert speakers and colleagues. Last week EarnFlex team attended the IFSEC event, and here is our quick summary of the trends we predominantly observed.

This year, the event's prime focus was on images and video analytics. Use cases such as people counting, lost object prevention, red & green zones, line crossing, intelligent movement detection, direction and steps analysis, and other significant video-related innovations. Most of the invention seems to be on the video analytics software side, but a few exciting hardware companies also presented. In addition, many vendors showed face detection for the gatherings; even though at the moment, it seems these systems still need improvements, and identification only worked perfectly in nearly ideal circumstances. Jason Bourne-like, automatic people recognition is sadly still for the movies. - but there is always next year!

It was clear that many manufacturers are focusing on 4K cameras. However, even though they aim for maximum resolution, the picture quality did not improve much, probably due to the sub-par lighting conditions, low frame rates and a considerable increase in bandwidth.

Some fantastic looking hemispheric cameras were displayed on almost every central video technology stand. Most of them now work correctly, but the perfect ones tend to cost more – especially the indoor versions which perform well in low light. However, I believe in a couple of years, and video surveillance will be commonly integrated with 4G/5G capable drones with long battery life extensive area surveillance from the sky. Exciting times ahead!

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/ifsec-2022-trends-and-observationshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/ifsec-2022-trends-and-observationshttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/ifsec-2022-trends-and-observationsWed, 25 May 2022 23:59:09 GMT
<![CDATA[The need for befitting security personnel in the post-Covid world ]]>Security operatives providing vital services in the UK across public residential and commercial facilities is a familiar sight. Over a short period, approximately the last two years, COVID-19 has affected our behaviour and business patterns around the world. The way we travel, interact socially, work, and shop is not how it was before the pandemic. Consequently, the demands and roles of licenced and trained security operatives have also experienced a significant shift.  

Expected duties of a Security operative

Security guards perform several tasks daily. These tasks require the security operative to have undergone training which grants them a licence to carry out their duties. Typically, security operatives are responsible for:

  • Carrying out surveillance of premises 
  • Monitoring sites through CCTV and, or regular patrolling 
  • Monitoring and managing site access for authorised staff and visitors 
  • Alerting emergency services in case of emergency scenarios. 
  • Monitoring crowded areas and maintaining a record of activities 
  • Alerting authorities of suspicious activities/personnel.

Above mentioned duties and responsibilities of a security guard are no less than working on the front line. Security personnel are adapting to changes according to circumstances. They apply befitting safety measures to ensure peace at their sites. Security personnel are also responsible for documenting daily activities. To exercise their duties efficiently, they need to remain professional and approachable to their employers and the general public. 

Covid-19 has rendered significant changes to social behaviours and interactions. As a result, the security industry has suggested new measures to ensure the safety of communities and their people. The role of security operatives may now include: 

  • Ensuring safe physical distancing in public spaces
  • Limiting the number of visitors at venues, as necessary
  • Managing the flow of crowds and traffic
  • Familiarising the general public with revisions in safety standards. 
  • Remaining on-call on rotating schedules after business hours. 
  • Available to every call to secure premises on a rotating basis while the business is closed
  • Monitoring vehicle parking areas, and public parks
  • Taking temperatures of visitors and checking their Covid vaccination status.  

Some of these duties were already part of security personnel's role; however, after Covid, the demand for additional responsibilities has increased. In addition to securing premises, security officers are now expected to ensure everyone follows new health protocols and safety measures to prevent covid-19.

Abilities expected from security personnel in the post-Covid world

For companies, the security of their assets and premises is always the top priority. If the company is secured and has door supervisors monitoring visitors, employees and visitors feel safe at the premises. The presence of professional security personnel certainly offers peace of mind for the visitors. With this comfort, people are willing to spend more time at the establishment and may even purchase more products and services from the business. 

The business landscape is dynamic. New challenges warrant swift befitting responses to ensure profitability. Security staff need to keep up with the pace through training to continue providing their services efficiently. Besides skills, security officers in this post-Covid world are also expected to have refined abilities, particularly:

  • Ability to make quick decisions.
  • To remain calm while interacting with people in panic. 
  • Excellent people skills; ability to assert without being harsh. 
  • Projecting trust, confidence, resolve and professionalism. 
  • Good situational awareness and ability to document observations. 

Growth of security industry beyond Covid

After Covid-19, the dynamic of every business has changed. An increase in workload has made the demand higher for security staff. Crowds and queues need strict monitoring to prevent the risk of Covid's spread. Moreover, security threats have also increased as previously crowded spaces may not be as occupied now. The changes in social behaviours, interactions, and business operations in this post-Covid world require well trained, capable and professional security operatives. EarnFlex can assist you in your search for such personnel.

A next-generation flexible staffing platform, EarnFlex provides companies with unrivalled control over sourcing, engaging and managing qualified, flexible workers. Through EarnFlex, businesses in the UK have 24/7 access to thousands of SIA licenced, BS7858 vetted professional security operatives. Using our industry-leading AI-based technology businesses can have peace of mind, and assured of quality work delivered on time. Contact EarnFlex.com today to discuss how we can assist you. 

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-need-for-befitting-security-personnel-in-the-post-covid-worldhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-need-for-befitting-security-personnel-in-the-post-covid-worldhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/the-need-for-befitting-security-personnel-in-the-post-covid-worldTue, 17 May 2022 12:19:41 GMT
<![CDATA[Why physical security still matters in 2022]]>It is a 2:00 AM Monday, and you are resting comfortably at your home, 45 minutes away from your store. It is a well-deserved rest since you finally received a large shipment of high in demand inventory worth £15M. You are sleeping soundly, assured that the £300 locks you installed will keep intruders out of your premises. Also, a sophisticated security alarm system installed at your store worth £1500 will hopefully scare away any intruders just in case they somehow pick your locks. In addition, you also invested £2000 in a CCTV system which has 4K cameras recording every corner of your store 24/7. Two people with face masks pick the locks on your cargo access shutter and break-in. The alarms begin blaring with your CCTV recording the intrusion. You get an alert message on your cell phone, and you notice it, but it takes you minutes before registering that intruders broke-in your store. You jump out of bed and hurriedly drive to your store. Finally there, you find that more than half your inventory is gone, the shutters are open, the alarms are blaring, and your CCTV captures your disappointment on cameras.

If your business relies solely on traditional locks, CCTV and security alarm systems to keep things in check, your business, site, employees, and customers are at risk. Physical locks have different types; however, they all serve the same purpose, to prevent access by physically blocking a door or shutter from opening. CCTV systems capture live events through cameras displayed on TV/Monitor screens and record them on a dedicated hard disk. A security alarm consists of sensors that trigger a loud siren at the occurrence of an unauthorised entry into a building. Many businesses, possibly even yours, consider their premises secure with any combination of these systems. However, what happens when someone picks your lock in the middle of the night? Imagine, your sophisticated CCTV captures a theft in progress, but no one is watching the screens to react. Your earth-shaking alarms are blaring, but you live at a distance from your business, and it will take you a half-an-hour to get to your store. That is more than enough time for any intruder to help themselves to your hard-earned cash in the till or cause substantial damage to your inventory. How secure is your business with locks, CCTV and security alarms alone?

These systems augment your security as tools that assist your security guards with their jobs. Security guards are often the first souls present on the undesired scene as their responsibility include:

  • Patrolling and monitoring your premises at all times
  • Informing the authorities on 999 in the event of a break-in or emergencies
  • Protecting access to facilities and equipment

Think of CCTV and alarm systems as alert mechanisms — on their own, these systems cannot address undesirable occurrences. Security officers with or without these systems, are the first to respond by either deterring such an intrusion in the first place, or alerting the authorities or a combination of the two. Waqas Ahmed, the CEO of a booming start-up EarnFlex, during a conversation on the subject, said:

“Anything that can open, like a lock, will be opened with the right ‘persuasion’ even though access is unauthorised. CCTV systems simply record post-event evidence, whereas alarm systems alert a close vicinity. These systems can certainly augment a security officer’s performance, but they can not replace one. Why would any self-respecting business not contract security officers when having one on your premises provides a higher level of deterrence and reduces insurance premiums by up to 4 times.”

Technology is an enabler that improves guarding practices and renders overall business continuity plans more effective. EarnFlex is a next-generation flexible staffing platform that provides companies with unrivalled control over sourcing, engaging and managing qualified, flexible workers. With access to thousands of SIA qualified professional security operatives thru EarnFlex’s industry-first app-based technology, you can have befitting security operatives on your premises within 24 hours. Get in touch with EarnFlex today, and rest uninterrupted with the assurance that a professional security operative is keeping a keen eye on things for you.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-physical-security-still-matters-in-2022https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-physical-security-still-matters-in-2022https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-physical-security-still-matters-in-2022Tue, 10 May 2022 17:58:05 GMT
<![CDATA[Why “Attrition rate” is an incorrect KPI for Flex-workers]]>With changing trends and shortages in the labour market, many businesses and staffing providers choose how they approach their partnerships by allowing for more flexible working arrangements. While turnover for any organisation is all but inevitable, the data support that employees with an active voice in their employment schedules are increasingly more engaged, productive, and reliable. For instance, instead of filling your vacancies with ten people working 40 hours a week, envision filling those same positions with 15 to 20 people working modified schedules of their choosing. The result here is fewer vacant seats, albeit using more employees. A high "return rate" accurately measures hiring success and a healthy work environment. Not all attrition is terrible, but bad attrition can be mitigated with empowered employees who contribute to your business.

One of the most common metrics to measure hiring success is attrition rate—defined as the number of people who start an assignment who are still working after a set period. This is a good metric of success when people are only placed in full-time positions with the same schedule each week. Still, the metric breaks down when you start to allow for flexible work, which inherently requires flexibility and attrition.

Many companies are allowing for flexible work now because it opens a much broader swathe of the workforce to their positions and allows them to attract higher quality employees who may already have jobs. Attrition rate doesn't work well, though, when evaluating flexible work as employees may take a day or a week off, and it looks like they have attrited by traditional attrition metrics.

A more practical method of measuring success in these scenarios is the "return rate."  The return rate is the number of shifts that have been filled in a given week by someone who has already worked at that company. Generally, if someone has already worked for a company, there is a much smaller investment in training and managing them than if they are new. This investment is what the attrition rate captures with full-time hires but does not correctly translate to flexible workers.

Based on feedback from tens of business leaders who have embraced flexible working and operate in industries with traditionally high attrition rates and a notorious lack of flexibility, I've found that pivoting to Return-rate as a primary KPI has improved how we envisage success.

Simply put, the success of any hiring initiative is the ability to achieve the least amount of vacant positions within an organisation while maintaining a tight bottom line. Continuing to measure that success based on attrition alone leaves gaps in the data to contribute to ineffective management and poor financial decisions. Rather than measuring your hiring success by how many people fail to return during a period, consider measuring success based on how many people could return or stay onboard if offered shifts that fit their schedule. Many people don't or can't maintain a 37-hour week schedule. Some may only be able to contribute 16, 24 or 32 hours a week but can return to work every week for those shifts. This workforce segment is consistently overlooked in current models' hiring process and readings.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-attrition-rate-is-an-incorrect-kpi-for-flex-workershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-attrition-rate-is-an-incorrect-kpi-for-flex-workershttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/why-attrition-rate-is-an-incorrect-kpi-for-flex-workersThu, 28 Apr 2022 15:22:52 GMT
<![CDATA[How can you trust someone you do not know?]]>You must be sure that the person securing millions of pounds worth of your property is trustworthy!

On Friday, 16 August 2019, Adeshina, a security officer working at the hospital in London, was handed a lost wallet containing cards and £80 in cash. The person giving in the wallet logged it in the lost property book, placed the wallet and the completed lost property form into a green transparent patient bag and put it into another bag at the control desk in the management office.

However, when the bag was opened the following Monday, it was discovered that the wallet was not in it.

The footage from the cameras covering the control desk for the entire weekend was reviewed by a security contract manager employed by Corps Security and based at St Thomas'. At least some parts of the footage were also examined by Belayeth Hussain, security operations manager for the trust.

As a result of what he had seen on the footage, Hussain requested Adeshina be suspended immediately, and an investigation conducted. His view was that the CCTV appeared to show Adeshina opening the property bag, taking the patient property bag out, hiding the contents, then walking out of the control desk before returning to the office and shredding paper and what appeared to be a card.

Adeshina was suspended on 30 August, and Clarence Hyman, one of Corps Security's contract managers, began an investigation.

However, At Earnflex.com you can access several reliable, qualified, and trustworthy security guards to secure your premises and can minimize reputational risk. Our security personnel are available all over the UK and are excellent at performing their duties. Before trusting someone, we recommend you ensure that the person you are hiring is reliable, they have passed the screening and are approved as per BS7858 recommended standards. You must be sure that the person securing millions of pounds worth of your property is trustworthy and is licensed up to SIA standards. What are his qualifications, and how responsible he is? Confirming this is a painstakingly long and tedious process, which includes background information checks, qualification checks, UK right to work checks and residential address checks, creditworthiness, and criminal background checks among the few things that we confirm for all our operatives.

Earnflex.com takes away all the complexity and makes it easy for you to open your company account on our website and hire officers who reside near your site. We ensure that our operatives deliver 100% of what is promised with all supporting documents available to you to view in an online portal for you to see. In addition, we also provide live tracking information of the officer's location while they are on the shift at your site. Call us today, and we will be happy to assist you in your man guarding business needs.

Reference: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1742945/security-officer-accused-stealing-lost-properly-unfairly-dismissed-tribunal-rules

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-can-you-trust-someone-you-do-not-knowhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-can-you-trust-someone-you-do-not-knowhttps://earnflex.com/news-articles/how-can-you-trust-someone-you-do-not-knowMon, 25 Apr 2022 08:30:50 GMT
<![CDATA[BS7858, a mere nuisance or a certain necessity?]]>The need and necessity for standards

A few days ago, as I was driving down one of my favourite streets, I was greeted with an unusually jolting surprise, a speed hump of a gigantic persuasion, which rattled my car’s suspension and compressed my vertebrae. I was caught off-guard since this route is among those I frequently use and am quite familiar with. Just to check if my car was still in one piece, I pulled over to a safe side and stepped out for a quick inspection. As I was looking around, another car approached and just blazed over the speed hump with a loud whoosh and a ‘da-dung, da-dung!’ sound. I thought, “oh dear! Someone definitely needs a new suspension after that”. Nonetheless, having found no noticeable damage to my car, I drove off and continued the day.

The next day, as I was driving along the same street, I remembered the enormous speed hump and slowed down to a crawl right before approaching it. I glanced at my rear-view mirror as I was slowing and saw the same car from the day before, the one that blazed over the speed hump. The driver went over the speed hump the same way - a whoosh and a ‘da-dung, da-dung’. Later, they put in another speed hump even bigger than the one they had. So now there are two enormous speed humps one taller, and meaner than the other, with a gap of less than 15 ft in between. Lo and behold, there are no “whooshes” nor are there any “da-dung, da-dung” sounds anymore. All cars driving down that street now go slower than usual, which has reduced noise pollution in the nearby area. In addition, pedestrians appear to feel more comfortable walking around and visiting nearby shops. So, what happened? ‘When people become unruly and lose empathy with a feeling of entitlement, measures must be employed to restore them to their former glory. ‘Standards’ assist people in creating an environment that is safe for all.


BS7858 a brief

The BS7858 Security Vetting, set by the British Standards Institution, is UK’s standard for vetting people employed in the security sector. This screening was introduced to ensure that employees working in sensitive areas or with people at risk are adequately vetted while keeping standards. It is a rather extensive screening and requires employers to collect from employees background information, such as 5 years of employment verification, 6 years of credit history search, proof of ID & UK right to work, proof of address, a valid SIA license and coverage of any 31+ day employment gaps. The process of collecting this information is quite complex and resource-taxing: sometimes the information is just not available despite the best intentions, while other times, the intentions are not proper. Nonetheless, the extensive process renders assurances across different levels that the employed can be trusted with vulnerable people and sensitive property.

Whose responsibility is it?

The responsibility of carrying out BS7858 screening rests with the employer and it is the employee’s responsibility to provide them with the necessary information on time. The employee is required to provide the current employer with contact information for previous employers, proof of address and credit history. The employer then reaches out to each of the contacts shared to verify their respective information. Sounds simple enough: right – now image, the employer has over 100 employees, each with an average of 3 previous employers (some for whom the employee provided an email address only), most of the 300 employees have a good credit score; however, there are a few (75) with a credit score of around 500. For conducting a BS7858 vetting for these 100 employees, the employer will need to make a minimum of 375 correspondences, emails and phone calls, manage respective follow-up and record-keeping processes, and ensure the employee files are kept in a secure place with restricted access.

EarnFlex.com, realizing the value and importance of BS7858, particularly in the security field, has purposefully incorporated BS7858 compliance within their systems. During the sign-up process, each officer is asked to submit documents as required by the standard. There are also disclosures and authorization forms developed by the templates provided by the standard’s recent publication from 2019. Furthermore, realizing that such forms, no matter how meticulously compiled are often confusing, intimidating and time taxing to furnish, EarnFlex.com has a team that calls up each officer on the phone and assists them in providing the required information. So far, this person-to-person contact has generated more responses toward BS7858 compliance than the conventional mechanism. During such phone calls, the officer shares their preferences and previous experiences which allows EarnFlex.com to better match them with jobs. This results in overall morale, motivation and quality of deliverables. What their clients get are, security personnel with a complete set of verified documents, relevant SIA badges and background information, which adds to their peace of mind that the one guarding their valuables is trustworthy and comes from a trustworthy organization. 

It is a nuisance, a jangled mess of multiple finely intertwined strands of silk, and each needs to be pulled out gently without damaging any strands or making any knots tighter. However, when done with intent, BS7858 provides the peace of mind previously missing from the security industry in the UK.

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https://earnflex.com/news-articles/bs7858,-a-mere-nuisance-or-a-certain-necessity?https://earnflex.com/news-articles/bs7858,-a-mere-nuisance-or-a-certain-necessity?https://earnflex.com/news-articles/bs7858,-a-mere-nuisance-or-a-certain-necessity?Wed, 13 Apr 2022 08:46:58 GMT
<![CDATA[“Sharing” – a systematic prelude to acquiring more ]]>In the world of business, the strives involved in each venture are to ensure deep market penetration, with a strong community rapport that assists in organic outreach contributing towards greater customers, which ultimately leads to revenues, incomes and cash in the bank. Amidst these strives, businesses often lose focus of who they are working for, and of those working with them in their hunt for the often-illusive “Fortunes de Financial”. Each fiscal year, businesses spend substantial amounts on outreach and marketing campaigns; however, the amount spent on building rapport as a ‘people centric’ and ‘people driven’ organization is a mere fraction, if at all that. Yes, arguably capitalism has its place and its own importance, and on the other side, humanitarians have their own value and significance. To boil it down to bare metal – ‘capitalism = all is money and money is all’; whereas for humanitarians ‘all is respect, inclusion, safeguarding and facilitation, and that is all. A perfect business would then be one that has equal elements from both capitalist and humanist models. 

There are businesses that try to incorporate such a hybrid model by sharing a one-time reward with their employees should they recommend a new employee or source for business. However, since the reward (often termed as commission, acknowledgement, a token of appreciation, and such) is a one-time treat, this model is biased towards capitalism – hence inappropriate, in the essence that it is “capitalizing” of a human to generate more revenue for itself, without sharing the increase in revenues fairly. So then amidst this overly complex yet obliviously simple context, how can any self-respecting business incorporate a hybrid model combining capitalism and humanism? How can a business continue to grow, and remain profitable without generating a reputation of being an insensitive group of money-hungry people ready to cannibalize just for some increase in their revenues? 

The answer comes in many forms; however, they all revolve around the same thing – money (AKA, revenue, profit, returns, etc). The difference between a pure capitalist and a pure humanist organization is that the former would strive to keep hold of all money available, whereas the latter would strive to distribute all the money available. An accord is struck, when this money is distributed in a manner that does not jeopardize business operations or fairness towards the employees/customers. Confused? Consider this example: 

 

Organization A, has 100 employees working with 50 customers having £100,000 operating cost, just made £500,000 in a fiscal year, with the same revenue committed for the next 5 years. Owners of Organization A are very happy and distribute a one-time bonus of £100 per employee. Of course, the actual revenue numbers are a company secret and so the owners decide not to tell the employees how well Organization A did. At the end of the day, each employee of Organization A leaves with their wage + £100 (one time), whereas the owners pay the £100,000 operating cost and leave with £390,000.

 

Organization B, has 100 employees working with 50 customers having £100,000 operating cost, just made £500,000 in a fiscal year, with the same revenue committed for the next 5 years. Owners of Organization B are very happy and distribute a bonus of £100 per employee, per month for the next 5 years. The owners feel that without efforts of its employees this level of revenue income could not be possible. Therefore, they organize a small get together with the employees and announce Organization B’s success along with the repeating bonus. At the end of the day, each employee of Organization B leaves with their wage + £100 (every month), whereas the owners pay the £100,000 operating costs and £120,000, and leaves with £280,000.

Now, compare both organizations, which one do you think made a better choice overall. You can see owners of Organization A leave with more money in the bank, but they also kept their employees in the dark about the huge revenues made. In doing so, the owners of this organization have jeopardized their rapport with their employees. Regardless of legal contracts and bindings, these employees will pass on the word among their family and friends and tell them how cruel the owners of Organization A were. Given this age, social media and all, this word spreads quite quickly. On the other side, the owners of Organization B, leave with less money in the back, but they threw a party for the employees and announced a repeating bonus, which basically is an increase in monthly wages. These employees would make social media posts and tell their family and friends how “awesome” Organization B is. Which one of the two organizations do you think won at the end of the day?

This is an example of what EarnFlex.com terms a” Revenue Sharing model”. In doing so EarnFlex.com believes not only do the security officers get an opportunity to better than own quality of life, but also get a chance to facilitate others in improving theirs. This model is an attempt to share fortunes, regardless of how large or small, among the organization in a manner that reduces the distance between “haves” and “have-nots”- while doing so promoting a sense of equality. Isn’t that what families do; and wouldn’t it be nice to run a business that is united like a family? I mean, wouldn’t you prefer to make the proverbial “welcome to the family!” a reality.

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<![CDATA[The Guard and the Secured ]]>“The Guard and the Secured”

 

Seeing a security guard on their toes for the duration of their shift is not too uncommon a sight. It is for some, an expectation, unfortunately. One wonders about the impact of such needless physical exertion (standing straight for more than 08 hours) on the guard’s ability to respond to actual threats. In addition, the critical connection between a person’s mental and emotional well-being and their physical ability is something we are all aware of. So then, what can the “secured” actually expect from such a “guard” at the occurrence of an undesirable incident? And, with whom does the responsibility rest – is it the “guard” who is responsible to perform irrespective of conditions? Or perhaps is it with the “secured” to provide without expectations? Let’s dive into the realm of security and attempt to understand things from both perspectives. 

To begin with, functions of a security role demand elevated levels of alertness and physical endurance to prevent any undesired occurrences. On average, with an eight-hour shift, working for 40 hours a week, any guard can expect to make close to £2000. Not too bad. However, there are two primary issues that give rise to circumstances that jeopardize the well-being of the guards thereby limiting their ability to adequately perform their duties:

  1. Cascade-subcontracting
  2. Late/no wages paid

A cascade subcontract occurs when a security provider or recruiter contracts another security provider and recruiter to fulfil committed requirements. This brings with it an inherent risk to the quality of deliverables and quality assurance. Furthermore, it also makes a site prone to ‘blow-outs’, which is when a site is left unguarded because the security guard did not show up after saying they would. Funnelling further, this creates an environment of mistrust between the employer and security guards (and the contractors). Employers tend to ensure their requirements are delivered entirely before releasing payments. In addition, to ensure their sites are well-protected (as they need to be, certainly) most employers would expect the security guard to be on their toes, patrolling and making observations for the duration of their shifts. 

Flip-side of this picture reveals the second half of what may be termed as a self-sustaining vicious cycle. Since cascade-contracting means each sub-contract gets a piece of the pie, the security guards who do the actual work only get crumbs. Further due to the employer’s rigorous post-performance evaluation processes payments to contractors get delayed which intern means the security guard is often not able to honour their personal financial commitments. This brings us to the foundation on which the entire high-rise of the security industry is built – the security guard and their ability to perform. 

Experiencing such challenging work environments, amidst an atmosphere of mistrust, with below-average pay, which often arrive late – is certainly a recipe for disaster for the employer, the recruiters/contractors, and the security guards. EarnFlex.com founded by an Information Tech Guru, a Savvy Tech Entrepreneur and a Passionate Humanitarian, over the last couple of years, explored direct, implementable solutions to address these concerns. They developed an IT suite that primarily links the employer with the security guard through a bridge. 

The employer, through EarnFlex.com, can access close to 1000 SIA verified security guards at any time and can also see complete documentation of the security guards they work with since EarnFlex.com is a BS7858 compliant organization. In addition, the security guards need not justify their performance during shifts since the employer can see geo-tagged movement patterns and heat-mapped locations of the guard’s shift on their mobile phones at any time during the shift. This assists in strengthening the rapport between security personnel and the employers. With this stronger rapport and confidence, both employers and security personnel can benefit. 

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<![CDATA[Knife crime on the rise in the UK]]>Knife crime on the rise in the UK In addition to disrupting its C2 infrastructure, the operation also closed the external management ports that the threat actor used to establish connections with the firewall appliances, effectively severing contact and preventing the hacking group from using the infected devices to commandeer the botnet.

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