Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
16th September 2020 Issue no. 525
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Alex Carmichael: SSAIB still providing certification despite Coronavirus crisis
Chief executive Alex Carmichael is keen to reiterate that SSAIB is fully operational and continues to provide certification for over 1,800 registered firms and new firms looking to join during the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the restrictions imposed by Government - relating to travel and social distancing - the leading UKAS-accredited certification body for the fire and security industries has embraced new technology to provide remote audits for certification, surveillance and re-certification, due to the pragmatic and positive approach to the pandemic adopted by the NPCC, BAFE, SIA and UKAS - as they apply to SSAIB's certification schemes.
An amendment to the ICT infrastructure, as required to support the new remote functions, has also allowed the SSAIB's head office functions - includingphone lines - to remain operational, but measures such as home working have been introduced to safeguard the health of all SSAIB staff.
The SSAIB CEO has overseen a widespread transformation to the organisation's working practices in the last month or so, but is confident that these changes will allow SSAIB-registered firms and any potential new firms to enjoy the benefits of third-party certification during these unprecedented times.
Alex stated: "As soon as it was first mentioned that this crisis could end up with a nationwide lockdown, we made sure to put procedures in place that would allow us to continue to support our registered firms, and the wider security and fire industries, at a time when we knew they'd need our support more than ever.
"By continuing our operations, we are primarily seeking to support our existing clients while - at the same time - providing an opportunity to gain certification, for organisations seeking certification for the first time.
"Certification auditing arrangements for each scheme differ and details of these arrangements will be provided to applicants as part of the application process. Arrangements for surveillance and re-certification audits also differ for each scheme and registered organisations will be made aware of these in advance of surveillance or re-certification audits becoming due.
"The feedback we've had so far from those firms that have had remote audits has been excellent and has more than justified our decision to introduce them."
While it seems to have been a seamless transition for SSAIB to introduce home working for staff and fully remote audits, Alex conceded that he couldn't rule out further changes but revealed that any change in circumstances would be managed in a "phased and managed manner."
Alex continued: "These arrangements will remain in place for as long as financial constraints allow. It may be necessary to amend our services, particularly if the lockdown remains in place for a long time.
"In the event of it becoming necessary to reduce the services we can offer, we will do so in a phased and managed manner to minimise the impact on the services we provide.
"However, should circumstances change, we will inform our registered firms of any new developments."
Should anyone have any questions on SSAIB's new remote auditing procedures for either new or existing SSAIB-registered companies, please give SSAIB a call on 0191 296 3242.
15th April 2020