Cash for Qualifications Investigation by the BBC

Earlier today the BBC released details of an investigation it has conducted which found undercover researchers could pay particular training organisations to assist in the dishonest acquisition of licence linked qualifications which are required to obtain an SIA licence (you can read the full article here). Keith Vaz MP is quoted as calling it “a major scandal” and “one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in all the years I’ve chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee.”  Whilst this investigation shows that this practice is obviously happening it is not the case in every organisation.

Peter Harrison, FGH Managing Director, said, “Part of our recruitment process includes potential candidates taking a mock SIA exam. In the past we have had people who scored dubiously low results and they, alongside the training provider, have been reported to the SIA. Generally FGH Security does not like to employ individuals who have not been trained by our own accredited training centre – solely because we cannot guarantee the quality of the candidate afterwards. Occasionally they may have actually learnt some bad practice when training with less desirable suppliers.”

He went on the say, “It is such a shame that there are people in our industry who do not care about anything but money. These unscrupulous individuals really do not do anyone any favours. I would urge anyone with any intelligence on such unscrupulous training suppliers to contact Crime Stoppers and report both the training centre and the person. It could be your family member or some part of critical infrastructure that these people are employed to protect and without the correct training they cannot do this correctly. The punishments need to be far harsher and handed out more often when people do not toe the line.”

David Taylor, FGH Senior Manager who oversees the company’s training, said, “The issue of training malpractice is something that has been highlighted to us by both the SIA and our Awarding Body, BIIAB. We take the issue of malpractice very seriously and we undergo an External Quality Assurance visit annually in addition to random, unannounced external observations of teaching and examinations to ensure that we are delivering to high standards.”
“The SIA have attempted to tackle the issue by placing a requirement on organisations to assess candidates with a pre existing licence linked qualification for competence as part of the interview process. This is administered as part of the Approved Contractor Scheme and, as such, binds only organisations who take part in this voluntary scheme.”

“As part of our checks during the interview process we have identified a number of individuals who we suspect of obtaining a licence improperly. In order to obtain a licence a candidate is required to obtain a score of 70% in a multiple choice exam. The lowest score we have ever encountered was 12%, significantly worse than ticking ‘A’ for every answer. Any candidate scoring below 35% will result in us passing information about the candidate, and their training organisation if known, to the SIA and to the Awarding Body who issued the qualification as we regard this as reasonable ground for suspicion that the qualification may have been improperly obtained.”