October 2020 witnessed the revolution of the oldest-established security-trade association in the UK. The new IPSA rose like a phoenix thanks to one man, Simon Pears, Global Head of Security, Sodexo. When Simon was voted as the Chair, he made it clear to his hand-picked board of Directors that he wanted to revolutionise and reinvigorate the association with his new vision for IPSA. His aim was to make the new IPSA relevant and reflect the growing importance and status of all those who work within the private Fire & Security sector. IPSA had a great pedigree, having been established in 1958 and now recognised as one of the longest-established security-trade associations in the UK.
The first question Simon asked was. ‘How does IPSA represent the front-line teams?’ Simon had identified a huge void with many of the existing associations across the relevant sectors. They all seemed to concentrate on Security Management… but not catering for the many thousands of devoted and dedicated front-line employees. Whether it is a Fire Systems technician, Electronic Systems Security engineer or a Security Officer, all these roles require professionalism and offer great career paths to the many thousands who are part of this unseen front-line family. This was ever more prominent over the last 12 months or so, when many of these roles were seen as ‘Essential Workers’ and therefore whilst many employees were furloughed or working from home, these people were operating at near normal levels, keeping businesses and people safe and able to operate.
This further reinforced the belief of Simon, his CE, and his new hand-picked board of directors that IPSA must exist to represent all front-line operatives working within the private Fire & Security sector. Most importantly, he wanted to ensure that the association was accessible to everyone on the front-line. His revolutionary first step was to make membership of IPSA entirely free of charge to individual front-line workers. IPSA is able to provide this free membership due to the solid support of our Founders and Company Members, of which UK Fire, Chubb Fire Systems and Firex are just a few examples, who believe in supporting the front-line private Fire sector.
The IPSA App, which has been developed with the assistance of front-line teams, is the first step in digitising the association, and allows the users to read updated Fire & Security related newsfeeds from around the world but also, for the first time within the industry, to anonymously record their ‘Mood’ and whether they are having a good or bad day, and this will allow the association to start highlighting the mental-health strength of the sector, data for which has never been collected to date. Another important element is the inclusion of anonymous incident reporting. We are all aware of the amount of abuse that is received daily by officers and technicians, much of which does not get reported to the Police, for a number of reasons. However, via this app, users will be able to quickly report basic details, so IPSA can start to gather this data and raise the concerns to the wider industry, Police and government bodies.
Another major change that IPSA has created is the unique Front-Line Forum (FLF), and this is an exceptional group. The FLF comprises one representative from each or the main private sectors, Fire, Security and Security Officers. This revolutionary group will enable IPSA to truly represent the ‘voice’ of the front-line. In the meantime, the opportunity for the self-development of these people is exceptional. They will learn skills that they would not normally experience in the course of their daily work, such as how to conduct meetings and chair their own forum, and learn boardroom etiquette, from creating the agenda to having the opportunity to become a main board member of IPSA. Whilst many of the directors have extensive experience in the private Fire & Security sectors, none can be more powerful than having the views of current front-line members to keep the IPSA board aware of relevant ideas pertaining to the front line. IPSA is fortunate to have such a great FLF team. Deborah Stewart, SecuriGroup is the Chair; Kyle Ashton, Chubb Fire Systems and Mark Card, Acctive Systems Ltd make up the dynamic FLF. They have their forum meeting and then the Chair presents their important views to the IPSA Board. The intel collected from these three key sectors is vital, but most importantly there is total commitment from IPSA to feedback the points and concerns that they raise. Both the IPSA board and the FLF are jointly responsible for delivering meaningful actions and objectives in line with their ‘Voice’. The private Fire and Security sectors offer fantastic career opportunities, and everyone should be proud to work in these sectors, and IPSA is determined to make sure the teams get the respect and recognition that they deserve.
If you want to join IPSA as an individual it is absolutely free. All you have to do is register at the IPSA website or via the app that is available via the Android and IOS play stores.
For more information, go to www.ipsa.org.uk