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Mrs Josephine Teo visiting the technology exhibition at the launch of the Security Industry Transformation Map & Skills Framework/ Credit: IMDA (from IMDA's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/IMDAsg)

Mrs Josephine Teo visiting the technology exhibition at the launch of the Security Industry Transformation Map & Skills Framework/ Credit: IMDA (from IMDA's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/IMDAsg)

Singapore’s Security ITM seeks to transform operating models through tech and innovation

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Manpower, launched the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM [1]) today at the Lifelong Learning Institute. The Government will invest about S$10 million over the next three years to support the initiatives under the Security ITM.

Roadmaps are being developed for 23 industries to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between the Government, firms, industries, trade associations and chambers. The ITMs are grouped into 6 broad cluster: Manufacturing, Built environment, Trade & connectivity, Essential Domestic Services, Modern services and Lifestyle.

The Security Industry ITM comes under the Built Environment Cluster, which also includes the Construction, Environmental Services and Real Estate ITMs.

The Security ITM, led by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), seeks to transform the industry from one that is manpower-reliant, to one that leverages technology and raises skills to deliver high-quality security solutions. The ITM has been developed over a period of more than a year through a collective effort, through numerous focus group discussions and consultations with industry associations, security agencies, the Labour movement, service buyers and Government agencies.

There are currently about 240 security agencies in Singapore, 600 security service providers and 47,000 active security officers. Though the number of jobs involved might be relatively small as compared to some of the other industries for which ITMs have been developed, the security industry plays an important role in the safety and security of Singapore. Security agencies and officers are responsible for the security of many industrial, commercial and residential premises, as well as events. The security industry is also a key partner of the Home Team. In view of the heightened security threat from terrorism and increase in number of buildings and facilities in Singapore, the demand for security services is set to increase.

The Security ITM has identified four strategies to transform the industry and enable security companies to shift from just supplying manpower to delivering integrated security solutions: 1) supporting technology and innovation; 2) promoting ‘best sourcing’ of services, with Government taking the lead; 3) aligning regulations with ITM objectives to improve standards; and 4) improving skills to enable career progression.

Credit: Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore

The Security ITM builds on the foundation of tripartite initiatives (collaboration among unions, employers and the Government) to improve productivity. In 2016, the Progressive Wage Modelwas implemented to raise skills and wages and increase job attractiveness. Wages grew by 23% per year between 2014 and 2016, and are expected to rise further. Overtime exemption [1] will be removed in 2021, which would further improve working conditions.

Driving innovation and technology adoption

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is partnering with MHA and the industry to develop the Security Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The IDP will provide step-by-step advice to SMEs on the adoption of market-ready digital solutions required at each stage of their growth. The Security IDP is expected to be released in the first half of 2018.

IMDA will also place focus on supporting pilot projects that have the potential to uplift the whole sector and help SMEs to grow in that sector. An example of such a project supported under IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital programme, is Concorde’s I-Man facility Sprinter (IFIS) solution which comprises of a mobile command centre and a network of cameras and wireless communication equipment, to monitor a cluster of buildings. A team of three officers within the vehicle provide security surveillance to buildings monitored and respond immediately to any security incidents.

Currently, the IFS is deployed at more than 140 premises. With support from IMDA, Concorde will be deploying the IFS to secure 30 premises in an area in Tuas, with 9 specialists instead of 30 security guards.

To co-develop innovative solutions that are not yet available in the market, IMDA and MHA are issuing a joint Call for Innovative Solutions (CFIS) for the Security sector.  

The CFIS will support the co-development efforts of Singapore-based consortium projects that comprises of technology firms, facilities management companies, security agencies, and building owners. Proposals must include plans to collaboratively venture into new growth areas and markets overseas and steps to gain user acceptance and profile innovative technology solutions. They must also incorporate efforts to gather feedback and solve any interoperability or implementation constraints and outline the commercial viability for Proof-of-Concepts (POCs), including potential business models and deployment models.

Promoting Best Sourcing

The Security ITM aims to support buyers to adopt best sourcing of security services through funding schemes and outreach efforts.

Best sourcing is defined as the principle of awarding service contracts based on performance and quality, instead of solely based on price. Being a “smart” buyer for security services requires understanding the security needs of a facility by doing risk assessment. The buyers would have to allow service providers to offer integrated solutions to meet security needs, and evaluating these proposals based on quality and value-for-money. Contracts will have to be structured based on desired performance outcomes, instead of prescriptive demands such as headcounts.  

The Government will also take the lead in adopting outcome-based security contracts. The Security ITM targets for most government agencies to adopt outcome-based contracts by 2020. This will include conducting security risk assessments and establishing longer contract durations.

MHA and JTC Corporation (JTC), have started to re-structure security contracts by aggregating demand and focusing on outcomes. This is expected to provide sufficient economies of scale to incentivise technology, process innovation and training.

JTC will be launching an outcome-based security tender for cluster guarding of its buildings in one-north, with the aim of achieving productivity savings of at least 20% and demonstrating the benefits of outcome-based contracts. Participating security agencies can propose how best to meet the desired security outcomes for the cluster of buildings, for example by installing CCTVs equipped with video analytics and linking them to a central command centre, with roving response teams. JTC will also emphasise continuous training to enhance the skills and knowledge for the security personnel deployed at one-north.

In addition, service buyers of security, cleaning and landscaping services, who are early adopters of Best Sourcing, can receive funding support under a new pilot grant administered by NTUC U Care Centre, called Smart Sourcing Initiative (SSI). The grant covers up to 20% of the total contract price, and is capped at $100,000 per contract.

Revising regulations to improve standards

Singapore’s Police Licensing and Regulatory Department conducts an annual mandatory assessment of security agencies, called the Security Agencies Grading Exercise (SAGE).

Previously, the criteria were primarily output-based, for example whether the security agency has put in place Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for different scenarios. There was only one criterion on whether security agencies deploy technology to improve productivity.

The grading criteria for security agencies will be revised to focus on security outcomes and technology adoption and enable better differentiation of agencies that invest in training and technology, and which deliver high quality services. There will be greater focus on assessment rather than just documentation. The new SAGE criteria will apply from this year.

Skills development and Career Progression

To improve the quality of jobs in the security industry, the Skills Framework for Security was also launched today. It is jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the MHA together with employers, industry associations, education and training providers, and the union.

This framework provides key information on the sector and career progression pathways, and also outlines the existing and emerging skills and competencies for the job roles.

Three pathways have been identified, namely (i) Private Security; (ii) Security Consultancy; (iii) Auxiliary Police. These encompass 11 key job roles.

A key feature of the new Skills Framework for Security is a new career pathway in security consultancy. The security consultant carries out risk assessments to identify what needs to be protected – based on the threats, vulnerabilities and risks to a facility – and how to best protect it.

At the launch, MHA and Temasek Polytechnic also signed a memorandum of understanding for a new Specialist Diploma in Security Consultancy to be offered from April 2019. The programme will cover risk assessment, building security and relevant legislation, security technology, and project management. Security consultants will help bring further professionalism and capabilities into the sector. 

[1] The Employment Act stipulates the maximum number of overtime hours allowed, and the security industry is the only industry that is given an exemption for day-to-day operations. 

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