With the number of PSSA Verified products steadily increasing, the PSSA Verification Scheme has been extended to include the installation of perimeter security products.
When the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association was founded, with a key objective of raising industry standards, the founder members allocated much of the Association’s resources to the development of a Product Verification Scheme. Such is the commitment of PSSA members to the Association’s objectives that participation in the Verification Scheme has now become a mandatory condition for continuing PSSA membership.
Leading suppliers, including Cova Security Gates, Frontier Pitts, Geoquip Worldwide, Marshalls Street Furniture and Zaun, have submitted a growing number of their products for Verification. Since these companies already possess accredited ISO 9001 certification and their products have been successfully tested to vehicle impact test standards or other standards, often with the oversight of CPNI, an obvious question is ‘why the additional Verification?’
Part of the answer lies in differentiation and the desire of these companies to demonstrate a higher level of achievement, which in turn of course engenders greater trust and confidence in their products, compared with those who make unsubstantiated claims. However, another part of the answer is the need to continually improve and adapt their businesses and their products and services to meet the requirements of the markets that they serve.
Raising Industry Standards The PSSA Verification Scheme, unlike conventional compliance audits to specific management system or product standards, takes a more forward looking approach. A key requirement of the scheme is that participants maintain a register of all external regulations and standards with which they must comply or have adopted voluntarily. Not only does this mean that they must keep their products in line with the latest national and international standards but they are also well placed to adopt new standards or additional criteria as they become available.
The scheme also verifies not only that the products being provided are of the same performance as those originally tested but also that suppliers claims in marketing literature are backed up with evidence of their products having been tested to confirm compliance. By reference to PSSA certificates specifiers, buyers and users are assured that the products have been independently assessed and can see exactly what standards and regulations the product meets.
Installation As those familiar with CPNI guidance on Operational Requirements for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation will know, the product system itself is only one component of ensuring that the desired security capability has been achieved. Another critical element is the installation of the product system at the site for which it is intended. This key operation often goes without independent assurance and is therefore at risk from contractors without the necessary security skills to install the products as intended by their suppliers. For this reason, the PSSA has introduced an installation module to its scheme.
The first company to achieve certification for installation under the Scheme was Binns Fencing Limited. Adam Binns, managing director, explains why he made the decision to participate in the PSSA Verification Scheme. “Being involved in the industry for over 75 years, we have been looking for the right scheme to give the end user peace of mind that the installation they receive has been installed correctly. Whilst there are other schemes around, they do not focus on the installation as a package. The PSSA Verification Scheme ensures that systems are in place and processes are carried out throughout the company to the installation itself. Both the head office assessment and the onsite installation assessment concentrate on the important details, where other schemes which are not fencing focussed can miss out.”
Integrated Approach As Adam points out the scheme treats installation assessment as a package. This starts with thinking contextually, defining and understanding the legal, industry and customer requirements against which a performance specification can be developed. The scheme insists on evidence of application of operational requirements, as advocated by CPNI, and now incorporated in several standards and associated guidance. It is only after the security capability has been fully understood that product and service components can be specified. This is where the knowledge and skills of companies comes to bear by working with clients to obtain the best fencing system and ensuring that it is installed so that it can deliver the intended security capability.
Next Steps New standards are being developed all the time, both in response to changing threats and technological changes. For example, PSSA participated in the recently published BS 65000 – Guidance on Organizational Resilience and is monitoring development of ISO 34001 – Security Management System. It is also taking part in more product-related standards development, such as the revision of BS 1722 – Fences and BSI PAS 170 – Vehicle security barriers – Non-vehicle low energy impact testing.
Procurers of PSSA verified products and services can therefore be assured that because of the adaptive assessment methodology, products and services bearing the PSSA Verification Mark will be informed by the latest standards and legal requirements, whilst ensuring that they are fit for purpose.