If previously SIA announced that business licences will be implemented from 7 April 2014, Home Office has now communicated a revised business licensing roll-out timetable.
However, this creates confusion not only about the open for business date, but also about the whole business licensing idea.
Firstly, the original date (7 April 2014) has been postponed, but no other date has been set. It is only said that there will be six months between the open for business date and the date on which a licence will be legally required (this remains 6 April 2015). Also, Home Office has committed to announce the new open for business date with at least three months’ notice.
Secondly, Home Office has confirmed that it remains committed to introducing business licensing, but this is still “subject to Ministerial approval”.
The official reasoning behind postponing the implementing of security business licences is that “the necessary arrangements to allow the SIA to start accepting business licence applications in April 2014 are not yet in place”.
There have already been two consulting forums organised by SIA with security companies. As SIA intends to continue to operate the Approved Contractor Scheme alongside business license, the security companies have expressed concerns regarding the costs of implementing the new legislation.
If the date on which a licence will be legally required remains 6 April 2015, there will be less time for the security companies to be able to apply. The whole industry is now left to hope that this delay will be beneficial by developing a fairer implementation process, with emphatically set costs.
The introduction of business licenses is designed to “help create a fair business environment for security companies, remove rogue operators, and deliver better value regulation.”