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Security Institute Chairman address to membership.

The Security Institute : 14 April, 2008  (Company News)
Address by the Chairman of the Security Institute to its membership at the recently held Annual General Meeting outlines benefits of memberships and calls for more recruitment.
The Security Institute held its AGM at the Victory Services Club on 10th April, attended by 50 members and a few guests. Along with the usual business matters, the delegates also heard presentations from John Pearse on "How to tell when someone is telling the truth" plus Perpetuity Director Ken Livingstone - who is also a Director of the Security Institute and member of the new Academic Board - on the progress being made in academia in offering security-related qualifications, and the work SyI is doing on its Academic Board.

Reprinted below is the entirety of the speech given by the Chairman, which may be reproduced in whole or part.

"When I stood before you at last year's AGM, your Institute had 415 active members. At IFSEC in May last year, we presented to Yash Patel his certificate as our 500th member. On 25 March this year, we validated member number 1078. Of course, about half of the increase in numbers in the past year has come about as a result of the merger of the International Institute of Security and what I might term the "old" Security Institute, and I am conscious that I have the privilege of speaking today to a gathering of members drawn from both of those backgrounds, as well as to those who have joined since the merger on 1 January this year. But aside from that increase, we recruited at an average rate of about one new member per day throughout the year. I will return to the subject of the merger shortly, but I would like first to focus your attention on that membership number.

Your Institute has, in the 9 years of its existence, become the leading UK-centric body for the advancement of professional standards amongst individuals employed in the business of security. We have drawn to ourselves many of the most committed advocates of high standards of security professionalism in the UK, and we have worked, and continue to work, in many ways towards developing those standards and encouraging their practitioners. This afternoon, I am going to tell you about some of what we have been doing.

But first, before I leave the question of membership numbers, let me remind you that we cannot stand still: we need to expand our numbers dramatically beyond the total that we have reached already. And the best advocates for the recruitment of new members are, ladies and gentlemen, yourselves. Last year, in one of our Newsletters, we made some suggestions about how you can do that:.

* Put an article in your company newsletter - better still, your client newsletter.
* Bring a guest to the next members' evening.
* Take some marketing leaflets to your next Business Watch, Rotary Club, or ex-services meeting.
* Pass on your spare copy of the Yearbook
* Arrange to host a local Institute evening - we can help with administration, speakers & advertising.
* Invite the Institute to your company to present the benefits of membership to you team and/or directors

How many of you did at least one of those things?

Don't forget that you are not only spreading the word in an attempt to recruit members, but also in order to deliver the message to the business world at large, that security is a professional activity, and that it has a professional body to represent it. I am working with a small group of security practitioners in senior appointments, with the aim of looking at how we can best take this message into the corporate world.

But when you are talking to potential members, do you know what the membership benefits are?

* Peer validation of your professional credentials and membership of the UK's largest association for security professionals.
* Access to key industry stakeholders.
* Access to the Institute's website.
* Free seminars and members' evenings.
* Exclusive member events such as the SO15 Conference and our forthcoming conference in Exeter.
* Use of the Institute's logo.
* Social events.
* Monthly news letter.
* Participation in the production of best practice reviews.
* Networking.
* Mentoring scheme.

Discounted security links - a reduction in the subscription price for SMT and Professional Security, 15% off jobs advertisements placed in the Security Oracle.

Other discounted offers - discounts for ASC events, BIFM training courses, 15% off the price of the IFSEC Conference, special offers from the Workplace Law Group, airport travel lounges discounts 20% off the Hotel Maiyango in Leicester, discounted use of a villa in Tuscany, as well as invitations to other security events, breakfast briefings, DEMOS briefings, etc.

I have already mentioned the merger, on 1 January this year, of the two bodies that have come together to form the Security Institute of which we are now part. That merger event is now history, but it is appropriate for me to reflect, this one last time, on what we achieved by means of this historic action. It was not simply about increasing membership numbers - it was far more than that. Two prestigious professional bodies were in existence, with overlapping aims and ambitions, and quite a number of members in common. But each also had its own disparate skills and expertise, and the bringing together of the two parts produced synergies that made the resulting body greater than the sum of the two parts

I had the great pleasure of chairing the first meeting of the new joint Board on 10 January this year. I am not quite sure what I expected, but in no way was I prepared for the high level of mutual cooperation and understanding that was evident amongst us from that very first coming together. For me, the experience was, and has continued to be, a shining example of why this merger was such a natural event to occur, when I see the common interests that we all share, and the common goals towards which we all work.

Our combined membership represents the broad footprint of security professionals in the UK, and one of the activities that we have taken onto a completely new footing is our involvement of the delivery of security management training. Those of you who have not seen it may wish to go onto the Institute's website to look at the Institute's Diploma course. Going on beyond that, we have established an Academic Board under the chairmanship of Dr Mark Button, to look at how we will bring heightened academic standards into the Institute's agenda. This is important, not only because it is part of our drive towards chartered status, but also because, quite simply, we will be the one-legged dancer at the ball if we try to work in senior corporate circles without a corpus of academic credentials.

The "old" Security Institute was delighted to have Lord John Stevens as its Patron. We were equally delighted that he consented to remain in-place after the merger, and that an old friend to the business of security, the Rt Hon Bruce George MP, came with IISec as our Vice-president. During 2007, Lord Alex Carlile, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, became interested in our work, and it was a pleasure to welcome him as President of the Institute upon the merger on 1 January.

During the course of last year, the Institute enjoyed an excellent programme of events. Seminars for members took place in a variety of locations, from Westminster Council House to Chester, from the Prudential in the City across to Franborough, and back north to Runcorn. The organisation of several networking and presentation seminars in the north-west showed what can be done if only one or two members chose to take the time to organise events away from London.

Nor was the social side of life neglected. Our lunch on the Dixie Queen on the Thames in June was a memorable event, and all credit goes to Patricia Knight, Di Thomas and Derek Webster, who were the architects of the event. Our Autumn Ball in the De Vere Carden Park Hotel in Chester was another highly-enjoyable occasion, and no-one can be unaware of the superb champagne reception that we held in the Champagne Bar at St Pancras Station in February this year, in order to mark the merging of our two Institutes.

It is a key part of our activities, to work closely with other bodies that are themselves working for the betterment of professional security standards, or for the development of best practice - although I have to confess that, whilst sometimes we are seeking to speed them along, we are sometimes more engaged to hold back some of their successes. Amongst our natural allies are Skills for Security, on whose Board we have an Institute representative, and with whom we have worked on the development of National Occupational Standards. Stewart Kidd represents us on the GW3 committee of the BSI, which is churning - sorry, turning - out large volumes of standards that, sooner or later, will have an impact on our profession. We have helped a number of organisations and individuals with research into topics of security interest, and continue to develop ever-closer relationships with City and Guilds, the Defence Academy and the principal UK universities involved in the delivery of graduate and post-graduate-level security education. As a result of an inspired initiative by Baroness Ruth henig at the SIA, we had the opportunity of placing two individual security professionals in positions within that body. We didn't get the sums quite right on that one, but the concept was sound, and will return.

Since its formation, the Institute has attracted a lot of interest overseas, and Peter Jones, our Director responsible for international relations, is currently working with similar institutions, or would-be institutions, in some 8 or 9 countries. Of particular interest is the close relationship that we have formed with the South African Institute pf Security: they have attended our events here in the UK, and we have been to theirs in South Africa. During IFSEC in May, we will be organising an international seminar with them in Birmingham.

Although we are very much a UK Institute with UK members, we do have members in 37 countries, and many of those are amongst those who have taken the Institute's Certificate or Diploma distance learning examinations. If you are not up to date on packages, you may wish to take a look at them on the Institute's website.

You will find a lot else going on in the Institute, by looking at the website, and I commend it to you. During the course of the last year, it has evolved dramatically, and I take my hat off to Di Thomas, our General Manager, for the way in which she has developed it. Amongst other information, you will find details of the many sub-committees and working groups that we have in place - everything from the Events Committee to working groups on TSCM and the corporate response to terrorism, and from the Finance Committee to the Validation Board. All of these bodies have one thing in common - they all need the active involvement of members with the time and commitment necessary to take their work forward. If any of you has an interest and willingness to join in and help the Institute to grow, but doesn't know how best his or her talents can be used, please speak to me or Di, or any Board member for what we might term a free and confidential discussion.

You have already heard the Finance Committee's report. As you have seen, we are in a sound position, but that leaves no room for complacency. In our early days, we benefited from considerable financial sponsorship, which enabled our launch and the early days of building the Institute. We still value sponsorship, which is a vital component of many of the professional events that we hold. But we are, quite rightly, ever more dependent upon our own income for our running and development costs. As we grow, so will our costs, and our ultimate bid for chartered status, about which I will say more in a moment, will also require us to show a solid financial base. So I ask you to bear this in mind, whether it be when you are paying your Institute subscriptions on time, or if you find yourself in a position to be able to help us to generate additional income.

So, where do we go from here? At the most obvious level, 2008 will see a very full programme of Institute events - you have the programme in front of you, and it promises a very full year for members. Our most immediate high-profile event will be our participation in IFSEC in May, when our stand at IFSEC will profile our activities and launch new initiatives in mentoring and student membership. In previous years, attendance at IFSEC has acted as a spur to recruitment to our ranks, and there is every reason to suppose that this will happen this year.

You will be aware that we have stopped publication of our Annual Yearbook. The rapidly-increasing rate of new members being validated, and the continuing expansion of academic and training courses, have made the production of a hard-copy report something of an anachronism. In future, this kind of volatile information will be included in our website, and we will produce a briefer annual report each year - a copy of which you will soon receive for 2008.

I wrote to you all at the beginning of the year, to tell you of our ongoing programme in support of our quest for chartered status for the Institute. We have much work to do, in continuing to build our record of professional achievement, in establishing our financial base, in expanding our membership numbers, and in raising the academic profile of security practitioners. This drive towards chartered status is a core strategic objective behind everything that we are doing at present.

I have mentioned in passing, student membership and mentoring. These are programmes that we are currently putting together, and they will enable us to draw serious students of security who are embarking on a security career, and also to make available to them - and to their individuals new to our profession - the advice of seasoned security practitioners in the development of their careers.

As you already know, the Board nominated to serve until the 2009 AGM was elected by the EGM that agreed the merger, and that EGM also appointed the Chairman, Deputy Chairman (John Rose) and the Vice-chairman (David Gill) to serve until the same point in time. This was done in order to ensure an equal balance on the Board, of directors drawn from both former organisations, for the first 15 or 16 months of the existence of the new body. But when we reach next year's AGM, the act of the merger will be but a dim memory in all of our minds, and it will be time to appoint a new, probably smaller Board, and to do so on the basis of electing those available at that time who can best drive forward the Institute and its ambitions.

I anticipate that the current Board will make proposals to you about how best to ensure continuity from the current Board into the next one. I myself will be stepping down from the Board from the next AGM, although I will, of course, remain a passionate supporter of the Institute's vision and activities, and will support my successor in any way that I can. But, by then, I will have spent 6 years as Institute Vice-chairman, and 4 years as Chairman, and it will be time for some new blood… to be spilled.

What I do say to you is this. The Board of your Institute needs activists - people with ideas, commitment and time. Board membership is not something to look good on your CV, something to be undertaken because you want to seem supportive, although you do not have the time to do anything. Board membership is something for the individual who is passionate about the professionalisation of security activity, who has time to become actively involved, and who wants to make a difference. And that applies not only to Board membership - it applies across the range of Institute activities. Your Institute - YOUR Institute, not just mine - needs people who will give time and effort to running a seminar, helping to organise a social event, sitting on a working party, developing best practice guides, assisting at an exhibition, mentoring a newcomer to our profession, or any one of the myriad other tasks that will have to continue to be undertaken if your Institute is to continue to roll forward its programme of the professionalisation of security.

I will conclude on that point with a note of thanks to all those who have done so much for the Institute in the past year. They are the sponsors of events, the organisers, the helpers, assistants, publicists, the pullers of strings behind the scenes, and, of course, my fellow Board directors, and the members of all the subsidiary committees - especially the Validation Board, the role of which sits at the heart of the Institute's being: I must pay tribute to its chairman, Doug Cook, whose work is central and vital to the reputation of the Institute, and yet so little-publicised. So many people work so hard for the good of your Institute, and they all deserve your thanks. But you will not be surprised to hear me say that the greatest thanks of all goes to the Institute's Management Team. I am exaggerating in no way when I say that, without them, the Institute would be a long way from occupying the position that it does. Di Thomas, our General Manager, has been the rock around which the Institute has been developed in the past 2 years: her appetite for work and innovation is tremendous, and I repeat to you what I said to her personally earlier this year: I have made some good business choices and some bad business choices in my working life, and the recruitment of her has been one of the best. At the same time, Paula Stanbridge, our Examinations and Membership Secretary, played an indispensable role in making the merger with IISec work, and she has since taken on a range of new responsibilities that have clearly shown us the great value that having her on board will bring. To both Di and Paula, on behalf of you all, I say "thank you"."
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