Following a distinguished military career, Graham Kerr has been with Hart for more than 14 years currently in the role of Chief Administrative Officer. Here he reflects on his year as Chair of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG )
Graham Kerr, Chair of SCEG, & Claire Green, Hart Director for Europe, at UK International Security Expo in Olympia
The Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) was established in 2011 under auspices of the UK Government, particularly the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), as a special interest group within the Aerospace Defence Security and Space (ADS) trade organisation.
The purpose of SCEG was to provide a central focus for the British security industry sector; one in which the industry’s views could be garnered and represented and, more importantly, the SCEG would encourage and assist private security companies (PSC) in becoming certified to internationally recognised standards. The latter being specifically PSC1 and ISO 18788 (security operations management systems) for land-focused security providers and ISO 28007 for maritime security companies.
Having been on the Executive Committee (EC) for a couple of years I was invited to take over as Chairman in 2018. It was clear that the SCEG’s original objectives had largely been achieved and although standards would remain a core issue, the heavy work had been completed. I focused on developing a strategy for the future of the organisation and the main deductions were that an evolutionary rather than revolutionary strategy should be adopted.
“The value of reputational enhancement, freely available advice, networking, having a voice in a reputable national forum and linkages with UKG need to be recognised as being significant tacit benefits of being a member”
SCEG should capitalise upon its strengths (relationships with UKG, an authority upon international standards, its international standing, and networking forum and cost-effective operation) whilst ameliorating its weaknesses (limited resources, reducing membership pool, and roles required redefinition). Key success factors were deemed to be sustaining (and where possible increasing) membership levels and maintaining (and where possible strengthening) relationships with UKG. Opportunities were assessed to lie in: further outsourcing from UKG; broadening client outreach; expanding international footprint; advisory work; and strengthening relationships with similar organisations (such as ISOA, BIMCO, ICoCA). The resultant strategy was endorsed by the Executive Committee (EC) membership; it is summarised as follows:
- Adjust/rework charter with involvement of interested parties
- Reinforce relationships with UKG (FCO, DfID) and develop new ones (MOD, Home Office)
- Maintain expertise in all matters certification, compliance and regulation
- Promote international recognition – new members, links with ISOA/ICOCA/BIMCO, develop overseas hubs (Cyprus, Dubai, Nairobi, Lagos)
- Networking events
- Outreach programme – client market arena, trade events, academia
Obtaining endorsement from government has been more elusive – as we all appreciate UKG has been somewhat distracted by other issues this year! Nonetheless our revised terms of reference have been circulated and accepted by all departments with which the SCEG deals.
In summary, it was a fascinating year in the chair. Although tangible benefits to members’ bottom line are not apparent, the value of reputational enhancement, freely available advice, networking, having a voice in a reputable national forum and linkages with UKG need to be recognised as being significant tacit benefits. Hart has appreciated its membership of SCEG over the years.