SecurityNewsDesk has spoken to David Thorp, new Managing Director of The Security Institute, the UK’s largest membership body for security professionals, to find out how he will shape the newly created role and take the organisation to the next level.
Congratulations on your appointment as Managing Director! I understand this position is entirely new to The Security Institute, what will your role entail?
Thank you very much. Yes, it is a new role but it will absorb some of the work that’s been undertaken to date by Di Thomas, our General Manager – who will be familiar to all our members. I’m pleased – and not a little relieved – that Di’s staying on with the Security Institute and I’ll be heavily reliant on her to help me find my way into the organisation in these first few weeks.
I’ll be responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation and the implementation of plans, but I see the most important part of my role as being to help the Board of Directors develop their strategy for the development and growth of the Institute. My primary responsibility is to make those plans happen.
There are some ambitious – but achievable – growth targets in front of us; I am knocked-out by the dedication of the staff we have here at Head Office and also with the commitment of many of our members. We have a great brand, one that I believe can only grow in stature,and we have a high calibre of members – and I look forward to meeting as many of them as I can over the next few months.
What attracted you to the position and what do you think you can offer the organisation?
Two things: firstly the Security industry itself. Security is ubiquitous – a part of the everyday life of every man, woman, child and organisation. As such there is a strong societal element to it…that interesting tension between keeping people from harm whilst not infringing their liberties. I believe the Security Institute has the opportunity to establish itself at the ethical core of this interaction. There’s the sheer diversity of the industry too; this is not a discipline where you can assume that one message will resonate with all stakeholders. As such it represents an intellectual challenge as much as a commercial one.
Secondly, opportunities like this don’t come along every day. I’ve been given the opportunity to help the Security Institute execute a step-change, to really start to establish itself as the premier resource and the leading voice of the security profession, and hopefully beyond that to achieve chartered body status.
I can offer three things to the institute. I have experience of the commercial, constitutional and thought leadership sides of running a professional body. Amongst other things, I ran my previous institute’s main commercial business, I grew the continuing professional development programme, I was responsible for policy development, I pushed the boundaries of current thinking through our research activities. I established a first-rate knowledge centre. I say “I” but what I really mean, of course, is I ran the teams that were able to make everything happen.
I see myself as a catalyst, I’m there to provide the leadership that gets things done – positive things. I’m here to make sure everybody knows what they need to do and are all pulling in the same direction.
What is your vision for the future of The Security Institute?
This answer will benefit from brevity. I see the Security Institute as the “go-to” organisation for anyone who needs to understand security, build a career in security, promote the art and science of security and give something back to their profession. I see us developing the gravity that will make us unavoidable, sitting at the very heart of the profession. In time I want us to be recognised as the trusted voice of the profession.
Can you give an overview of the services the organisation provides and how it benefits the security industry?
We are the largest membership organisation for security professionals in the UK, we have members worldwide, and 2014 is our 15th year anniversary. During this time we have grown every year and, in a nutshell, membership gives individuals credibility, enhances career prospects, provides a network of excellent contacts, offers mentoring, continual professional development and a wide range of networking opportunities.
We are passionate about influencing and growing the professionalism of the security industry and much of the work we do is focused around that and in supporting our members in their career development. We provide security qualifications through our partners Perpetuity Training so we offer the security professional everything they need to develop their career whilst providing an industry voice to the wider security community.
Is there anything you will be improving or any new projects you plan to initiate?
These are very early days for me so I’m not about to make any sweeping or ill-informed statements that come back to haunt me. I’m a great believer in evidence-based decision-making, where we take our opinions out of the equation as much as possible and see what the facts are suggesting to us. That said there are a number of areas I’m happy to talk about in general terms.
A professional body should have three core imperatives – commercial, community and intellectual. We will be working to build our commercial base and develop strong and sustainable revenue streams that will ensure our current plans can be realised and allow us to dream even bigger in the future. We will be growing our community and looking at fresh ways of engagement with all non-member stakeholders and we will be paying attention to developing a clear voice supported by underlying policy and backed by primary, premium intellectual property.
You’re going to find us hard to ignore…
For more information about The Security Institute visit www.security-institute.org.