What is the PSSA Product Verification Scheme? Physical perimeter security if often the first line of defence against terrorism or malicious criminal attack. It is therefore imperative that critical national infrastructure, high value commercial assets and places vulnerable to extensive loss of life are adequately protected.
Vehicle security barriers, for example, have an important role to play in hostile vehicle mitigation, as part of an organisation’s perimeter security strategy. The components that comprise the physical security system, including vehicle security barriers, access control points, security fencing and other perimeter installations must work together effectively to provide protection from hazards, threats, risks or loss.
Against this background the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA) has been working for the last two years to develop a robust scheme to help those responsible for security to put really effective perimeter security provisions in place.
The scheme seeks to provide confidence to perimeter security product buyers and others that products supplied by PSSA members conform to nationally recognised quality standards and provide assurance that products are fit for purpose, are consistently manufactured and supplied conforming to their agreed specification, and when in use, produce the intended performance outcomes specified by the customer.
How does the scheme achieve its objectives? The scheme achieves its objectives by evaluating the supplier’s ISO 9001 certified management system to verify that it operates effectively in supplying specified products.
It analyses the supplier’s test data to verify that the appropriate standards have been selected and that products are being and continue to be in conformity with them.
The scheme also continuously assesses and audits the suppliers to check that the products supplied continue to conform with specified requirements.
How are the products assessed? Evidence is assessed and evaluated by an independent UKAS accredited certification body to verify that the products and system meet requirements in three PSSA specifications; for the product, testing and PSSA certification.
Following a rigorous process of evaluation of both the supplier’s management system and verification of the product, authority to use the PSSA Verified Product Mark is given and the product is listed in the PSSA’s industry listing of verified products.
What are the benefits? The main benefit of the scheme is the peace of mind it gives the government and other organisations that put in place high security perimeter products.
It gives them the confidence that the supplier is capable of consistently managing the product and regulatory requirements associated with the security equipment as part of its overall business management systems and processes. What’s more, customers will have an independent source of reference on which to base their procurement decisions.
How is the scheme developing? Now that the Verification Scheme is in place for key products, the PSSA has turned to developing a module covering product installation, which will be piloted later in 2013. Installation can be complex, with multiple dimensions and requirements to be borne in mind. It consequently can often go wrong. Therefore we are working with installers, consultants, specifiers and government agencies to develop a specification for perimeter security product installation. This installation module will be a world first.
The installation module will need to accommodate verification of a range of authoritative standards, including those for installation specification and performance, service design and delivery, and requirements for testing, activation and handover. In developing the installation module, the PSSA is acutely conscious of several important deficiencies that need to be taken into account. For one thing, a clear issue that we’ve identified is that many organisations with an ISO 9001 certification don’t actually have in place a very robust or credible quality management system, specifically one that ensures the quality of the installation will meet regulatory and customer requirements.