The Silver Fox Audit scheme, a division of FM Contract Watch, has been established for over 20 years and provides nationwide on-site audits to test security teams on their alertness, efficiency and compliance. Our auditors have all held senior roles in the security industry, are ex police officers or military personnel, who can provide an independent, unbiased report on their findings.
Some security professionals may ask why more audits are required when their company is already SIA ACS (Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme) accredited, they have regular inspections and are working to all the relevant standards, however, the Silver Fox Audit is a test of the front-line Security team.
The audits are unannounced, and we are testing the individual Security Officer’s reaction to the auditor attempting to gain unauthorised access to the premises or notice a period of hostile reconnaissance taking place. Our auditors use many disguises to appear as a genuine visitor to the premises. Does the Officer accept our story without checking? Are they alert to suspicious activities around the perimeter of the premises? Do they verify our ID? Do they notice as we tailgate through doors and barriers? Are they happy to challenge our behaviour? Do they remain calm and composed?
We have a wide range of clients and work on behalf of both end-users of security services, in-house security teams and SIA ACS accredited contract security companies who see the advantage of regular audits which keep their security teams alert and aware of suspicious circumstances. With the current UK Threat Level set as Severe – with an attack highly likely – such exercises are of great benefit to complement the ongoing training of frontline staff.
It is inevitable that our auditors will gain unauthorised access to the premises on occasions, and this is often due to loopholes which can quickly be remedied, and new procedures introduced which will prevent such intrusions in the future.
In addition to the initial attempted penetration into the premises, this is followed by a short compliance audit which starts with checking that the Security Officer is in possession of and displaying a valid SIA licence. Failure to display an SIA correctly results in an automatic ‘Fail’ and, unfortunately, is quite a regular occurrence. Some individuals believe that as long as they can retrieve their licence from a pocket, bag, drawer or locker, then that is acceptable, however, it contravenes the SIA guidance.
The Silver Fox Audit is comprised of 3 sections, the initial access attempt, assessing the Security Officers for Alertness, Attitude, Understanding of Duties, Training and Appearance. This is followed by checking a variety of on-site operational documents to ensure that they are up to date, signed appropriately, not overdue for review and comply with the relevant standards.
The Audit is a concise, independent overview of the service being provided and many of our Contract Security clients share our reports and findings with their customers. They offer this as a cost-effective differentiator when tendering for the contract and the results of these audits form an integral part of the Key Performance Indicators and Service Level Agreement.
We accept that there will be times when things may need improving, however, the tests are not designed to catch anyone out or to apportion blame. In fact, it is just the opposite and one of our main aims is to recognise and reward good security work. Individuals that prevent an unauthorised access attempt receive a Silver Fox Pin Badge and some of our clients have adopted our award scheme presenting the individuals producing the best results annually with an engraved Silver Fox Award.
The Silver Fox Audit Scheme promotes efficiency and compliance in the security industry, at the same time as rewarding good work.www.silverfox.org.uk
Lynda Moore has almost four decades of experience in the UK security industry and is currently the Managing Partner of FM Contract Watch, an independent organisation offering support services to the security guarding industry. This includes the ACS Pacesetters, a membership association for contract security companies achieving a score in the top 15% of all SIA Approved Contractors, The Silver Fox Audit Scheme which audits and tests security teams throughout the UK and Security Consultancy Services