We are accredited by the National Security Inspectorate www.nsi.org.uk
They are a UKAS certified organisation who ensure that the work that we undertake in the security industry is compliant with the relevant UK and European standards and any other codes of practice that might apply.
Unlike a trade organisation, where you pay your subs and you are automatically granted membership, we must continually demonstrate that we are worthy to use the NSI logo.
So every six months we are visited by one of their experienced auditors who will examine in minute detail our processes, procedures and our installations. We had a new auditor on this occasion, so he came with no prior knowledge of GuardHome, and this is always a good test of how well a company is run.
A brief resume of the day
After introductions, we carried out four surveillance visits to recent installs. The goodwill of our clients is incredibly important here as we have to interrupt their daily routine while we examine, probe, test and trigger their security installation. He checks each one against the specifications that we produce, even going to the extent of checking the fuse rating! A brief chat with the system owner is another useful measure that they use to check whether the client is satisfied with the system and how we are performing. If he finds anything wrong, these are noted and are recorded against us as improvement notices. We like to think that the standard of our installation are the highest in this industry, so naturally, I would have been very disappointed had our auditor noted anything wrong in this phase of the audit. He didn’t! Having satisfied himself that our installations are being professionally carried out we head back to the office, for the second part of the audit.
This part of the audit concentrates on the back office activities that are in place to make the business tick. As any good Quality Assurance professional will tell you, the back office processes and procedures are key to producing consistency in any business. I have been a member of the only professional body for quality assurance, the Certified Quality Institute http://www.thecqi.org since 1980, so I understand the importance of robust, workable processes and procedures. The important part of this being that they are workable and that they reflect the day to day operation of the business. Everything from how we handle an inquiry to dealing with staff training is documented in our Business Operating Manual (BOM). Of course just having a procedure documented, is not a demonstration of control, you also need to provide evidence that you are working to the procedures; that they are relevant to your day to day business and that members of staff also know which procedures are relevant to them and that they know what their responsibilities are.
We spent several hours looking at the BOM and testing the efficacy of the procedures against the evidential data. Of particular interest on this occasion was our security screening process for new staff. Integrity is essential in this industry so when a new member of staff joins, a thorough security screening process to BS7858 is undertaken. This can take several months to complete and will determine whether a prospective candidate can be employed. Detailed records of this process are compiled and were examined, together with the training records of this employee. Another area that is of particular interest to the auditor is the handling of customer complaints. A bad company that fails to address customer complaints brings the business into disrepute. Under the terms of their NSI approval, an NSI company must respond to a customer complaint within 4 hours, which is why we operate a 24 hour help desk! We also need to maintain accurate records of our success against this Key Performance Indicator (KPI). These records are also reviewed by the auditor so that we are able to demonstrate our compliance.
The completion of another satisfactory audit by the NSI continues to demonstrate the total commitment that GuardHome and each of its employees makes to being a business that takes the time and effort to the deliver the best security for our clients.