New Licensing System Unveiled for SIA

13 October 2011

A new licensing system for businesses and individuals is set to form the backbone of a new regulatory body to replace the Security Industry Authority (SIA). 

The new body, which will be self-financing and free of Government control, will build on the credentials which have been the hallmark of the industry under the SIA, Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone told the authority’s conference in Sheffield today. 

Under the proposed system business such as pub companies and nightclub owners, will be required to register for the new licence. Individuals such as doormen would also require to register and receive a licence card. 

The proposals are the first details to emerge about the new system following the announcement that the SIA was to become a victim of the Government’s “Quango cuts.” 

It is likely however that the name SIA will be retained for the new organisation because of its strong brand awareness. 

The minister told the conference that the aim was to provide a common standard for the industry but warned “robust sanctions” would be taken out against those who failed to meet their commitments. 

SIA chairman Baroness Ruth Henig told delegates she realised the difficult times the pub and club industry currently faced. 

“Margins are tight and we understand that,” she said. 

“But regulation at the moment is not geared to the current evolution of the industry and I realise its time for us to move forward.We need a new regulatory regime to satisfy new requirements. 

“Legislation may take time to put in place.If its not possible to legislate immediately but I feel its vital we do not stall in the progress I have outlined,” she added. 

No details of proposed licence fees have yet been suggested but fears are already growing that operators and individual doormen face higher charges because the new body will be self-financing. 

Legislation to set up the new regime will be introduced in Parlaiment at the end of next year but it could be as late as 2014 before the new authority comes into force. A wide-ranging consulation exercise is now to follow.