The SIA has many enquiries from licence holders and SIA licence applicants. However, it is only natural that to some extent the same questions come up over and over again. Here are the top 10 frequently asked questions that the SIA face every year.
1. How do I apply for an SIA licence?
This makes an obvious number 1. Most people contacting the SIA are doing so in order to apply or renew their licence. There is detailed information on our website covering this.
For our advice on how to renew your licence, head here.
2. How long will it take to process my SIA licence application?
The SIA state that they attempt to process a minimum of 80% of all completed applications that are handed in and completed correctly, within a 25 working day period.
The 25 day clock starts to click once your application has been entered onto the SIA licence administration system. The time ends on the day the SIA make their decision.
If for any reason your application has to be sent back to you for reasons that fall within your remit, (ie you have failed to provide relevant supporting documentation, or have filled in the form incorrectly), the clock is reset once your amended application has reached the SIA.
Complex applications that involve extensive criminality checks or where the applying party is based overseas will often take longer than 25 working days to complete.
3. How much does the SIA licence cost?
The SIA licence is a standard £220. The SIA will only accept payments made in UK pounds sterling.
The fee is payable in full at the same time as you submit your application. If your application is eventually denied, you will not be entitled to a refund. (There are means to challenge an SIA decision however)
In some situations you may benefit from your employer covering the cost of your SIA licence application, however this is rare.
The SIA accept various payment methods from applicants. They include cheque from a UK bank account, UK debit or credit card, banker’s draft or postal order. Any cheques should be made out to the “Security Industry Authority”.
4. What do I do if my licence is lost, stolen or damaged?
In short you have to report the circumstances of the missing licence to the SIA. They will generally send you a new one free of charge.
5. What are the SIA’s licence conditions?
Your SIA licence is subject to various conditions that you must abide by. The SIA has a right to revoke or suspend your licence if those conditions are not met.
The best place to view in these conditions in complete detail is at the SIA website. You can find the relevant page here.
6. Can I appeal an SIA decision to refuse my licence application?
The answer is yes you can. However, you only have 21 days from the date on the SIA decision letter notifying you of their refusal in which to appeal.
Your appeal should be based on factual errors in the SIA assessment should you expect to have any chance of success. This could include an error of identity, an error in assessing your qualifications or the nature of a criminal conviction for instance.
If your criminal history is a point of conjecture, in some circumstances you will be invited to supply mitigating information. This can include character references or detailed evidence of your rehabilitation since the offence took place. The letter from the SIA with details of their refusal will advise you on whether they are in a position to consider your case for mitigation.
If you do not appeal within the 21 day period, the decision of refusal will automatically take effect. Once this has happened, the only way to appeal from this point onwards is to seek a right of appeal is through the Magistrate’s Court, Sheriff Court or District Court.
However, if your application and appeal reaches this stage you do risk substantial court costs in both lodging the appeal and then the potential of losing the appeal at court.
7. What are the penalties if I get caught working without an SIA licence?
If you are found working in a licensable role without an SIA licence, the penalties can be quite severe. (And remember, you will be held responsible, the part your employer may play in the circumstances is actually irrelevant – they can be charged separately)
However, for you as an individual working without a licence, upon summary conviction at a Magistrate’s Court, Sheriff Court or District Court, you could find yourself facing a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.
Best avoided you might agree.
8. How do I renew my SIA licence?
9. If my motor vehicle is clamped, blocked or towed away, can I complain to the SIA?
The SIA website has a detailed explanation on an individual’s rights in such circumstances. You can find the relevant page here.