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Retail Guarding

by msecadm4921

The authors explain their seven element approach to instil ‘best practice’ and build a service in terms of both quality and value by learning and applying best practice from outside the industry.

This article has been written by David Stubbs of Astute Security, the Retail Security specialist and is fully endorsed by Jim McKenna, Security Operations Manager of Travis Perkins PLC which includes Wickes Building supplies. It has been compiled to share joint experience in developing a guarding service contract within the retail guarding environment. Ongoing quality and value criticisms can be eliminated by applying the seven element contract management framework that follows. <br><br>We started work together seven years ago with 12 security officers. Our contract has evolved, now delivering service nationally with over ninety security officers, covering a network of stores and distribution centres. The best practice approach has been key to the success of the contract.<br><br>Our approach and best practice evidence was drawn initially from the more evolved supply chain management world using the SCOR model which advocates careful planning, constant measurement and continuous improvement initiatives. This model addresses the approach to the contract, not the content, and was developed for the product as opposed to service sector however it provided a useful launch point and helped instil the critical planning and measurement disciplines required for developing the contract. The Government’s OGC office which is responsible for driving procurement standards and issuing best practice has also proved to be a useful point of reference. <br><br>Historically the procurement initiative at OGC focused on the discipline of procurement – and contract management – as a process but has not dealt with the relationship management aspects and content focused aspects we believe have been critical to the success of our approach. <br><br>In 2007 however, London Centre of Excellence (LCE) and London Fire &amp; Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) (2007) launched a best practice manual titled You and Your Contractor: a manual of best practice for contract and relationship management practitioners. Our approach and experience mirrors these findings which advocate a careful planned approach, a focus on the systems required for management and the involvement and motivation of the stakeholders operating within those systems. <br>Further details of the best practice areas and information and a full version of this white paper are available upon request. This introduction presents our distilled experience having worked on the development of our service contract over the last seven years. We developed and continue to use a seven point framework for managing a Retail Guarding Service Contracts to deliver world class performance and value; this aligns well with the LCE recommendations.<br><br>Element one, establish an objective<br><br>As an example our aim is to deliver a uniformed security solution that aligns with the Wickes business policy and procedures in conjunction with our guard’s best practice documents, the wider industry best practice procedures and our ‘know My Job’ training handbook.<br><br>Element two, build a solution in partnership<br><br>From the outset we have worked as true partners to obtain a common set of contract goals. The partner approach for us means investing time and research to harness the true contract requirements. <br><br>By embracing a partnership approach the relationship between client and contractor naturally evolves. We share information and both value the trusting environment that has developed and have completely eliminated the blame culture that can develop through other approaches.<br><br>Element three, identify and communicate with key stakeholders<br><br>Having established our service solution we considered the impact of our contract on the operational environment. We have identified all parties who have influence on the security staff and classified them as stakeholders. <br><br>We have opened communication routes to three types of user:<br><br>Operational – (End users/Technical support)<br><br>Business – (Contract Manager/ Relationship Manager)<br><br>Strategic – (Senior Management/Directors/Board). <br><br>Consideration has been given on improving their environment and how they can assist us in achieving our objectives. Having established communication lines we must maintain them throughout the contact length.<br><br>We recognise that the implementation of a new contract or the development of an existing contract creates change. Involving the key stakeholders in our decision making process has ensured that they buy in to our proposal and support our objectives. <br><br>Element four, set targets and measure performance against those targets<br><br>We have set clear targets that are relevant to the essence of the contract. These clear deliverables, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are used to judge contractual performance. <br><br>In addition to monitoring performance, correctly selected KPI’s provide ‘lead indicators’ giving an early indication of changes within the operational environment that may latter effect performance. Reviewing this data allows for quick decision making based on accurate quantitative information. Our targets are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. <br><br>Element five, report performance<br><br>Critical to our continued success is the transparent reporting of our performance, how we feedback on that performance to the key stakeholders and what action we take when considering the data. <br><br>We use the same reports for operational management as we do for performance reporting. This ensures that reporting is near real time and transparent. Our platform is based on communicating the contract deliverables through our established communication routes. <br><br>Element six, retain and value security staff<br><br>The security officer in store is the core component of our security solution and needs continuous support and development to enable effective performance. Furthermore, the security officer is a key stakeholder in our solution and we have identified that poor retention figures is often an early indicator that all is not well. We measure staff turnover and target our management team to improve retention figures.<br><br>Security officer – an expensive budget item or a valuable staff member? <br><br>Often the store managers hold the answer. The store management team can improve staff retention figures beyond all other methods. Their support is vital. Giving the guarding team feedback on the contracts performance and rewarding their good performance has also improved the working environment. <br><br>Element seven, develop security staff in line with the contracts objectives<br><br>The SIA licensing process has given the security training a rigid structure that sets an identifiable minimum standard. But does it go far enough? We have found that the Retail environment sets many different challenges. While the SIA provides us with a worthwhile starting point it doesn’t provide all of the answers to retail security.<br> <br>We have developed a client specific training package and we deliver training against the objectives of our security solution. We call this our ‘know Your Job’ training package. <br><br>We have already established that the environment and objectives change in line with our development program so it is imperative that our training is not seen as an induction process but rather an ongoing solution. We have built a seven element contract development program, and the result: A long-term quality security contract that constantly develops in line with the business objectives of contractor and client.<br><br>In short these seven elements are:<br><br>Set the contracts objective<br><br>Build a solution in partnership<br><br>Identify and communicate with all stakeholders<br><br>Set targets and measure performance against those targets<br><br>Report performance<br><br>Retain and value security staff<br><br>Develop security staff in line with the contracts objectives<br><br>Work in progress<br><br>While presented as a sequential approach many steps act in unison and continuous development is the order of the day. We are currently working on evolving the Service Level Agreement (SLA) system to a Service Level Guarantee (SLG) system for example. <br><br>A copy of the full white paper can be obtained by request by e-mailing [email protected]

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