SIA Preemptive action ahead of BBC expose
In a BBC expose to air on Inside Out London on BBC One on Monday, 23 March at 19:30 GMT their undercover reporters investigate colleges happy to sit or forge SIA exams for untrained students for a fee.
In the trailer for the programme BBC researchers approach Tony Bainbridge a former airport security trainer and soldier who read out answers to an undercover researcher posing as a would-be bodyguard.
The BBC sent an undercover reporter posing as a student to Ashley Commerce College, in Ilford, east London. The college offered to “fast track” the researcher to becoming a qualified bodyguard – which the SIA says should take 140 hours of training.
When formally challenged about the allegations he ignores the repeated questions from the reporter and tries to stop the cameraman from filming him.
In a BBC report posted on line alongside the programme trailer, they quote Keith Vaz MP who called it “a major scandal” and “one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in all the years I’ve chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee”.
And then a former SIA employee, speaking anonymously, said a high number of colleges were breaking the rules. Who went on: “Thousands of people [are] working in the industry illegally, having obtained accreditation illegally.”
A SIA spokesperson told the BBC that “We take allegations of training malpractice seriously. When the BBC shares the information it is holding on training malpractice, we will take immediate action against the licensed individuals concerned in order to protect public safety.”
The examining board, Industry Qualifications (IQ), issued the qualification certificates given at the completion of the training. They rely on the exam results and paperwork from assessment centres.
Industry Qualifications told the BBC in their report “IQ welcomes the BBC investigation and will mount a full investigation into the conduct of the centres concerned, following the broadcast of the programme.”
“IQ takes a zero tolerance attitude towards malpractice, and will involve the police if fraud is evidenced and take appropriate civil action.”
The SIA and IQ had already started preemptive corrective action last week after they had been told of the allegations by launching a review into its examination centres reported on in Security News Desk [https://www.securitynewsdesk.com/qualifications-body-leads-review-into-training-centres/]
In that report Chief executive of IQ, Raymond Clarke commented, saying, “At the end of last month, a source warned us of malpractice at one of our centres. We take such issues extremely seriously and have decided to look at all of our procedures. Where we find malpractice, certificates will be withdrawn and learners will be given the opportunity to be independently re-tested. It is important that we get to the bottom of this allegation and act to ensure such malpractice cannot be repeated.
IQ uses all of the standard techniques deployed by awarding organisations to identify and manage malpractice, but we recognise that approaches can always be improved, and we need to explore whether we can enhance common practice to make it quicker to identify malpractice.
“We have contacted all of our customers to keep them informed and have briefed both the Security Industry Authority and Ofqual and asked them to guide us in this review process.
We have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to malpractice and if proved we will take the strongest possible sanctions against the centre. As an organisation we strive to go above and beyond the industry norms and are confident that once the investigation is completed and lessons learnt we will be able to detect the very small minority of failing centres far more quickly.
We have also discussed this matter with the police and I hope that, through this honest and open approach, we can stimulate a wider industry led discussion about the identification and eradication of malpractice.
Whilst we are not complicit in this allegation, it is only by working together, in partnership with other awarding organisations and regulators, that we can reduce the risk of fraud and malpractice creating a more secure training platform for all industry stakeholders.”