The following statement is taken from the SIA website and will apply to all dog handlers when they come to renew their current SIA licence
We are making some changes to the training you need to take before you can get a front line SIA licence. These changes will happen in April and October 2021.
The changes are:
Why are we making these changes?
We need to make sure that people working in the private security industry can:
New requirement: first aid training
We already expect applicants for a close protection licence to complete a first aid qualification before taking their licence-linked training.
From 1 April 2021, we will also expect applicants for a door supervisor or security guard licence to do the same.
You will need to do this if either of the following apply:
From 1 October 2021, you will also need to do this if you are renewing your licence.
The qualification must be an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification or equivalent.
What do we mean by “equivalent”?
We will accept other qualifications that comply with the relevant guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. Some examples are:
Your training provider can tell you more about this.
New requirement: top-up training
From 1 October 2021, you must have one of the following before you can apply for a door supervisor or security guard licence:
This applies to any applications submitted on or after 1 October, including renewals. If you submit your application before this date, you will not need take additional training.
More relevant course material
We have moved training that is critical for all sectors to the ‘common unit’ (taken by all security operatives). This includes new training on:
We have introduced new sector-specific content – for example:
More practical assessments
We have increased the number of practical elements in the training to help learners reinforce their knowledge. The practical assessments include:
The following link will take you to the relevant SIA website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-the-training-you-need-for-an-sia-licence?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=4ba9851a-e9e0-45e4-b351-6905c3f29a4f&utm_content=daily
We would suggest that any questions about equivalent qualifications be directed to the SIA as we do not have this information. However, if any handlers have significant issues or feel that there is an issue regarding this that NASDU can help with please get in touch.
National Association of Security Dog Users
Advice to members on new Covid 19 lockdown 2021
NASDU alongside everyone else can only make suggestions and recommendations on our interpretation of government advice. Therefore, we strongly recommend that our members read the available government instructions/advice to ensure compliance to suit their own individual circumstances.
If you are in the vulnerable category you should continue to take all the shielding advice with no change. If you think you have Covid 19 or someone in your household has symptoms you should self-isolate and follow government guidelines.
The latest government advice on working is as follows:-
‘Going to work
You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.
Where people cannot work from home – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.
The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.’
Broadly speaking the advice is not greatly different in the devolved government areas of the United Kingdom but companies operating in these areas need to check on their individual advice from the devolved authorities.
NASDU recommends that training/assessments for operational general purpose security dog teams and working detection dog teams should continue to ensure the continuation of safety and quality delivered by our members. However, unless an employer has a particular concern over welfare or safety, we suggest that only quarterly and annual training assessments are carried out.
Animal welfare and operational handling should be monitored by companies during normal supervisor visits to sites. We would also suggest that during the initial month of this new lockdown that handlers, that are up to date with training, due to take assessments be given some leeway perhaps putting them back to February.
We do understand that training will have to be adjusted to allow for handlers and trainers to remain safe, if any exercises on the assessments are deemed by trainer/handler to increase risk of infection they can be changed during this period if it is noted and justified on the assessment forms.
Handlers that are deemed to be in the extremely vulnerable groups should not be working therefore should not be training. Handlers or trainers who have been in contact with, been tested positive or is exhibiting symptoms of covid should not be working and therefore should not attend training. These would-be reasonable excuses for having a break in training records, however once dog teams return to work employers should ensure that they are operationally compliant especially after an extended break.
NASDU particularly wants trainers, security companies and handlers supplying dogs to make sure animal welfare standards and safe handling/control of dogs is being ensured. To this end annual and quarterly assessments should be conducted in person unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Detection dog teams that are not working and are not expecting to work for several months due to the current situation are not expected to keep current with formal training at present. However, they are expected to keep personal training records up to date and if they have a break in formal training for over three months should complete a full annual assessment before returning to work. Again, training for detection dogs can be adapted to be safe if deviations and reasons are notated on any assessment forms.
NASDU would like to remind all members that normal workplace legislation including health and safety regulations are still in place so it is imperative that although it is difficult best practice should still be followed otherwise employers/handlers could find themselves in legal difficulties. It is unlikely that if there is a serious incident on site that covid-19 will be excepted as an excuse for not following best practise and ensuring duty of care.
Companies carrying out training and deploying dog handlers should carry out a written covid-19 risk assessment and follow government advice, to do this they should go to the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 and follow the instructions for construction and other outdoor work and possibly offices and contact centres.
NASDU is very proud of its members who have continued to work during this emergency providing a important service to there clients and we have also heard of many of our members that have volunteered in their communities or have been assisting the NHS and other organisations. We hope that by following the advice from government and being proactive our members will help the effort to battle the virus and to restart the economy.
Other sources of information
Self-Employed Security Dog Handlers
HMRC, as many members know, has recently held several webinars in conjunction with the SIA, the purpose of these were to explain the need for companies to comply with current Agency legislation. Whilst this was primarily aimed at ACS Companies, it is applicable to all contract security companies deploying self-employed Dog Handlers, as well as having a knock on effect to the individual Dog Handler ensuring that PAYE Tax is paid at source by the Handler.
At this stage it must be noted that this is only applicable to the self-employed Dog Handler who contracts through a security provider who in turn is then deployed on a client’s site. It is not applicable to the self-employed Dog handler who contracts directly with a client and is then deployed on that clients site.
Whilst this is not a Standards or Qualification issue or indeed a security issue, it is something that will affect a large percentage of Security Dog handlers in the UK and is why NASDU is keeping an eye on this developing situation. As a result NASDU has spoken with a number of company members as well as individual members together with several inspectorate bodies (ie NSI and SSAIB) regarding the impact this will have on the Private Security Dog Sector, NASDU has also had a meeting with representatives from the SIA on this same issue.
At the meeting with the SIA (which incidentally was at the request of the SIA) NASDU heard the arguments that had been put forward by HMRC regarding the implementation of Agency legislation.
As a result NASDU asked the SIA for more flexibility at this stage in their approach to HMRC compliance within the ACS scheme, in that companies should be given sufficient time to implement a PAYE scheme and if this took till the end of the financial year/period then this should be acceptable.
It was also suggested that the SIA should take a more uniform approach ensuring that all ACS companies be given a date by which time they should all be compliant and not just when an individual company ACS compliance visit is due, thus ensuring a level playing field for all.
In the meantime, whilst we await a response back from the SIA regarding a more flexible approach, NASDU is supporting a move by one of its long standing and respected members who are taking legal advice regarding the possibility of a Legal challenge as to how this current Agency legislation and its interpretation will have a significant impact on the legitimate self-employed Security Dog Handler, once this is done we hopefully will have a definitive answer to the question.
Members with any information that may assist any legal challenge or require any further information should contact NASDU Head Office.
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