Accreditations and qualifications help prove the competence of the relevant party in their field of expertise. For teachers, the main one is their QTS. For security systems installers, these are NSI, BAFE, CHAS and SSAIB.
So what happens if you don't pay attention to these when choosing the company that is going to install your school's fire alarm and access control systems?
What are the repercussions of making the wrong choice?
'one school was fined £2,000 ... because the school didn't ensure the contractor was competent.'
Well, one school was fined £2,000 when a contractor they hired sustained an injury whilst working on school premises.
The prosecution was brought by the London Borough of Hounslow because the school didn't ensure the contractor was competent to complete the job they had undertaken.
If the school had checked that the company had the relevant health and safety accreditations then perhaps the accident could have been avoided. We'll never know.
Yet this example highlights a more important question...
What happens if you experience a fire or a break in and it's a child that gets hurt?
Have you ensured that the security company you trusted to install your systems is suitably qualified and accredited?
For intruder alarm systems and access control the two main accreditations to check are NSI and SSAIB. Click on the links below to find out how to check these approvals using each organisation's website. :
For fire safety, look for these marks of approval:
One of the main health & safety accreditations is:
Accreditations like these usually have a logo or image which can be displayed on the accredited business's website. Below is our NSI Gold image, as an example of what to look for:
It's important to check with the accreditor that your chosen security company has been awarded the approval they are showing on their website as criminals have been known to forge such certificates.
But this doesn't just affect the school! Checking that your contractor has the relevant accreditations is vital for the responsible person too.
When talking about fire safety, there is always a responsible person. In the case of the example mentioned earlier where the school was fined £2,000, this was the school's Governors.
The Fire Safety Order talks about the Responsible Person, that's the named person in the legislation. If there's no responsible person nominated, the business owner is deemed by the court to be responsible. The Government website states that:
You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
In most cases the responsible person in a school will be the headteacher, business manager or finance manager.
In addition, the Health & Safety At Work Act also makes the employer responsible for the safety of staff in their place of work.
That means it could be the headteacher, business manager or finance manager who is prosecuted in the event of a disaster - where it will be decided whether they did everything reasonable to ensure the protection of staff, visitors and pupils.
Did You Know? A good security company will be able to install a security system that integrates with your fire alarm, which is one less thing for you to worry about.
With so many things to consider, choosing the right installer for your school's fire and security systems can be a tough job.
Looking for the right amount of experience of working in schools, the top accreditations the industry has to offer and ensuring you get a competitive price, can make you exhausted enough to just go with the first company that gives you a quote.
With the potential repercussions, however, it's definitely worth putting some research into this decision.
While, obviously, we think we'd be the perfect choice, you don't have to just take our word for it.
Simply download our free case study using the button below and you can see for yourself.