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Who writes the standards?

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Published in Features
Within the security services sector there is an ever growing catalogue of British Standards Codes of Practice documents, setting best practice for the industry. The established standards of BS 7499 Static Site Guarding and BS 7960 Door Supervision along with BS 7858 have been joined in recent years by standards such as BS 7984 1&2 Keyholding and response Services, BS 7958 CCTV management and operation, BS 8507 1&2 Close Protection, BS 8517 1&2 Security Dogs, BS 8484 Lone Workers, BS 8549 Security Consultants, BS 8523 Wardens Scheme and BS 8406 Events and crowd safety. 
 
One of the newest standards is BS 102000 the British Standard for Investigative Services, which is the next sector likely to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority.
 
The business case was written by Lynn Watts-Plumpkin, who is now the Director and General Manager of IQ Verify Ltd and Chair of the lead committee GW/3 responsible for drafting and updating the standards listed above.  
 
The business case was presented to the British Standards Institute (BSI) and included a justification for the requirement of the standard. The BSI accepted the business case proposal and a drafting panel was formed.
 
For the standards there is a core of people involved, this includes a representative from the insurance industry, Associations and Institutes including the International Professional Security Association (IPSA), the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the Security Institute (SyI), the Association of Security Consultants (ASC) and the National Association of Security Dog Users (NASDU), the Security Industry Authority and the three Certification Bodies that specialise in the security industry NSI, SSAIB and IQ Verify. BSI act as the secretary to the committee drafting panel and the drafting panels for all GW/3 committees are normally held at BSI in Chiswick.
 
In addition for each standard, sector specific associations are invited, e.g. for BS 102000 it was ABI, IPI and WAPI.  Also companies and individuals that work in the sector that the British Standard covers are invited, to ensure that the standard is written by the sector industry for the sector industry and reflects current best practice.
 
Once the standard has been drafted it is sent out for public comment, so that everyone has an opportunity to input into the standard.  The comment period varies, but it is usually two to three months.  Once the public comment phase has ended BSI collates the comments and a further meeting is held to discuss them.
 
Some of the comments are editorial and others are general, those that do wish to make editorial changes are asked to supply alternative text to replace the text they are not happy with.  Each one is discussed by the drafting panel and a decision is made as to whether the change is acceptable or not.
 
Once the changes have been made the draft moves to the final comment stage and the committee meets for a final time to go through the standard word for word to ensure that it meets the requirements.  Then it is published by BSI and available for purchase.
 
The security services standards are auditable and are audited by several UKAS accredited Certification bodies.  To ensure that the Certification Body auditors are competent they receive additional sector specific training.  For example when BS8517 the security dogs standard was published, auditor training was conducted by NASDU at the Surrey Police dog unit headquarters.  For BS 102000 Investigative Services, the auditors received training from Tony Imossi, President of the ABI.
 
In addition to this auditors should have sector knowledge.  For example Lynn Watts-Plumpkin, the Chair of GW/3, started working as a Security Operator for J Sainsbury plc in 1982.  Throughout Lynn’s long career she has worked in several areas of the security industry including as an operations manager for two contract guarding companies and Lynn has worked as a private investigator, conducting investigations herself and running a team of investigators in the Reading and Swindon area. Lynn is a Fellow of the Security Institute and is a member of the IPSA International Council.
 
Other industry representatives also take on responsibilities in the drafting and updating of standards. Justin Bentley, Chief Exec of IPSA, is about to chair the British Standard review panel for the BS 7960 Door Supervision Standard and Dave Wilkinson, Director of Technical Services at BSIA, will be taking responsibility for the review of BS 7984-1 Keyholding and response services. The associations take responsibility for keeping their members informed of progress throughout the process, so those companies or individuals that are affected by the standard are aware of the changes and are able to comment in they wish.
 
Normally the British Standards are reviewed every five years. Although the standard for Security Consultants BS 8549 has not been reviewed since 2006, therefore the Chair of GW/3 Lynn Watts-Plumpkin has requested that this standard should be put forward for a review. 
 
There are also International Standards, the most common one used in the security industry is ISO 9001 the standard for quality management systems.  This standard, as well as ISO 14001 the environmental standard have been through the updating process and are due for release, with OHSAS 18001, which has been changed to ISO 45001 following closely behind and due for release in autumn 2016.
 
The process for international standards is obviously different, as the rest of the world needs to be considered.  Often the main issue is terminology.  Although we are fortunate in that the international standards are written in English, there are still many language differences often subtle but can change the whole meaning of the standard in that country.  Therefore there has to be a terminology standard which is agreed with every country involved, so that a set of agreed terms and definitions can be established.
 
Any country can write a standard and ask for it to be turned into an International Standard (ISO).  Once a business case for an ISO has been raised, it is usually sent out to each participating country to see if they would be interested in adopting it. Where an ISO standard is considered by BSI, a UK mirror committee is identified and it is this committees responsibility to input into the writing of the ISO and to vote as to whether this should be accepted into the UK or not.  
 
An alternative method is for a country to draft a standard then send it out as a DIS (Draft International Standard) to each participating country.  Once comments have been received the standards passes to FDIS (Final Draft International Standard).  Similar to the British Standards method, the panel reconvenes and the comments are discussed and agreed.  As it is an International Standard telephone conferences are often held, to reduce the requirement to attend the meetings face to face.
 
Once agreed the standard is published. ISO standards have, on average an eight year review period.
 
If you are a member of the International Professional Security Association, you can contact us directly on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions about British Standards or if you are interested in participating, alternatively if you are a member of a different participating trade association you can contact them or BSI directly. The Chairman of the GW/3 committee, Lynn Watts-Plumpkin, can be contacted at IQ Verify Ltd.