Your workplace FAQs
Your workplace FAQs
Your workplace FAQs
Your workplace FAQs
Your Workplace general questions
There are many different cameras each designed for different applications, for example black and white, colour, day and night, wide angled, high and medium resolution. The costs vary depending on the camera’s capability and the quality of the equipment often depends on the grade of image resolution you require. The specification should always be based on your needs. All NSI approved companies are audited to the NSI Code of Practice NCP 104 that includes guidance on defining customer needs.
Ask for a system that complies with NSI Code of Practice NCP 104 or alternatively BS 8418, which is more specialised.
A URN is a unique reference number assigned by the police to a security system. It flags to the police properties that will receive immediate Police response should a verified alarm signal be triggered.
A URN can be awarded to security systems that are installed, maintained and monitored by NSI approved companies, and meet the rigorous requirements of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), these requirements demand amongst others that each system must be certificated to professional industry standards (PD 6662 & BS 8243 or BS 8418) and that each system must be regularly professionally maintained to ensure their reliability and keep false alarms to a minimum.
Any signalling faults are reported to the alarm receiving centre (ARC) who will inform you either directly or via your installer. Your installer can clarify this.
Should a fault be found on your landline or broadband service, your installer will notify you and may be able to offer suggestions, however since you and not the alarm installer hold the contract with the communications provider, you will need to contact your communications provider to directly to resolve the problem.
Your installer may refer to the signalling fault as an ATS fault or Alarm Transmission System fault).
The NSI approved company should arrange formal documented meetings with the client to discuss contract performance against both the contract and the assignment instructions. The frequency of the meetings should be recorded and subject to agreement by both parties. Copies of the minutes should be retained on the client file. Additional information such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a useful way of managing the review process.
NSI approved companies are required to keep a daily register of all occurrences, incidents and actions taken. These should be recorded by time and date. Entries for signing on and off duty, supervisory visits, times of check calls, movement of keys and incident reports should all form part of the register.
All NSI approved companies must have processes in place to manage the safety of lone workers (that is security officers who are working on their own). There should be an escalation process should check calls, due to be made by the officer, not be received at the specified times.
To meet the requirements of the standard the NSI approved company will produce assignment instructions. These detail the duties to be performed by security staff. These assignment instructions should be presented to the client for approval and signature.
To meet the requirements of the standard for security guarding your provider must carry out an initial site survey and complete a report identifying any health and safety and security risks that security officers could face in carrying out the service. This will then be discussed with the client to form part of the specification.
As a minimum the provider should have employers and public liability insurance. Dependant on the services provided additional insurances for example efficacy, wrongful arrest and loss of keys should be considered.
Directors and Shareholders of NSI approved companies have to complete a Personal Data form, which is reviewed by NSI to ensure the people controlling the business are of good repute. In addition all relevant personnel, including directors, within each NSI approved company, are security screened to British Standard 7858.
Checks at audit for NSI approval also ensure that approved companies pay their staff at least the minimum wage, give them statutory holiday entitlement, statutory sick pay, access to a stakeholder pension, and adhere to working time regulations.
Ask for NSI approval as part of your selection process. All NSI approved companies are regularly checked during the audit for financial probity, insurance, contract management, contract infrastructure and management of personnel. In addition all relevant personnel, including directors, within each NSI approved company are security screened. Find out more here.
The Responsible Person or Duty Holder is defined as either the employer with control of the workplace or, the person with overall responsibility for a building or the occupier of the premises or owners of premises such as empty buildings.
Fire safety law throughout the UK applies to practically all premises with the exception of private dwellings. In England and Wales the law also applies to the common areas of blocks of flats. Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and other complexes such as sheltered housing schemes are also included within the various legislation. The fire safety legislation requires that:
• a fire risk assessment is carried out on the premises
• due consideration is given to those who may be especially at risk
• the risk from fire is eliminated or reduced as far as reasonably possible, providing
general fire precautions to deal with any remaining risk.
• where 5 or more people are employed, or a licence or registration is required, any significant findings following the fire risk assessment must be recorded and the results of the assessment must be documented and regularly reviewed. The Responsible Person/Duty Holder could be the employer, or in cases of multiple occupancy, multiple employers. It could be the owner, the landlord, the occupier(s) or anyone else with control and or oversight of the premises. In most instances it is considered the responsibility of each employer to safeguard their employees and visitors. The Responsible Person or Duty Holder has to work together with other parties to ensure the requirements are met. This is more complex in multi-tenanted buildings.
Legislation requires any life safety systems or services (e.g. fire detection systems, emergency lighting etc.) must be provided by competent people or organisations relevant to the fire safety products and services being provided. They should have proof of this so that it can be produced at an inspection, pre or post incident. A contractor’s competency can be demonstrated by holding approval to the relevant NSI Gold or Silver fire safety scheme.
Fire safety legislation in the UK is enacted and enforced under three separate jurisdictions, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire Scotland Act 2005, the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.
You should check your contract for the agreed service level response time.
Digital recorders have video management software, that can be used on a local monitor, a PC and/or smart phone, which will provide tools for you to be able to view live images, search for and export recorded images. using these tools should not affect the system’s ability to continue to record as normal.
Some installers may offer cloud based storage for CCTV recording.
Care does need to be taken that the privacy of your neighbours or the general public is not invaded. Your NSI approved company will be able to advise how to make sure that your installation is done in accordance with the standards and legal requirements. Cameras can be fitted internally on brackets or externally in weatherproof housings.
There are many different cameras each designed for different applications, for example black and white, colour, day and night, wide angled, high and medium resolution. The costs vary depending on the cameras capability and the quality of the equipment often depends on the grade of image resolution that you are looking for. The specification should always be based on your needs. All NSI approved companies are audited to the NSI code of practice NCP 104 that includes a section on defining customer needs.
Ask for a system that complies with NSI Code of Practice NCP 104 or alternatively BS 8418, which is more specialised.
You should consider:
- The terms and conditions of your contract including the notice period you are required to give to the company and, in some cases, the amount of money you may be required to pay for early termination of the contract. If in doubt, check with the company or your contract paper work.
- Whether you have paid fully for all the services provided by the outgoing company.
- Whether you want to request co-operation from the outgoing company to TRANSFER your contract to a new (incoming) company or seek DISCONNECTION.
- Co-operation for TRANSFER may be particularly important if your alarm system is remotely monitored at an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and if, for example, your system uses the Redcare service provided by BT to communicate alarms to the ARC.
- If you are disconnected, please note that it may take several weeks to gain a new monitoring service and during this time your insurance cover may be invalid.
- If you are ending your contract without going to a new company, check if your system is set up to enable you to manage and operate it yourself with your own user code and also the engineering code. Check with the outgoing company how this will be achieved and see it if the set up can be organised to take place at the final routine maintenance visit before the contract is terminated.
- Engineering codes are private and confidential to security systems companies and they should not be disclosed to third parties. They help to ensure, for so long as the contract exists, that your system remains compliant with industry standards.
- Companies can visit your premises for a fee to change the engineering code to one you can use. Alternatively it is possible, in many cases, for an incoming company to revert the system to factory settings and then re-programme it with a new engineering code.
- If the engineering code has been locked-in to your system, as in some cases, then it may be necessary for the outgoing company to visit your premises to change the engineering code. The company can charge a fee for the visit and you should expect them to have declared the cost in their terms and conditions.
- Please note that NSI does not normally investigate complaints against a NSI approved company if there is no maintenance contract. This is mainly because the company does not have any commercial responsibility for the system once the contract has ended and also the company does not know whether any third party may have altered the system since the contract was terminated.
Most systems are bought outright, although some companies offer lease agreements and sometimes the alarm transmission equipment may be leased. You would need to check at the time of getting your quotation.
All NSI approved companies installing intruder alarms operate a 24/7 call out service and respond to emergencies within a 4 hour period, unless you agree to a longer time. You should check your quotation or agreement.
Providing your system has a maintenance contract, the NSI approved company will investigate any faults or false alarms.
Your NSI installer will send this to you after you have signed the handover documentation and paid for the system.
The NSI Certificate of Compliance is proof that your security system, fire alarm or automated gate has been installed to the relevant standards by an NSI approved installer. Insurers or the Police may want to see this document as proof that the system is compliant to the relevant standards and codes of practice.
Modern alarm systems are user-friendly and designed to be as intuitive as possible. Your alarm installer will make sure you are familiar with setting and un-setting your system before the installation is complete and provide you with information on what to do should you make a mistake when setting or unsetting the alarm. If you are unsure call your installer.
All intruder and fire alarm systems have a standby power solution, the most common being a standby battery, usually co-located with the control equipment. The battery ensures most systems remain operational during mains power outages for at least 12 hours (older systems 8 hours). When the power is restored, the battery is designed to be recharged automatically and the system will continue to work as normal. We would recommend that you ask your installer about the battery life on the system they are installing. Even without use, all batteries have a life-span and need to be replaced periodically.
You should review your maintenance contract with your installer to ensure there is clarity about the costs, what they will deliver and how/how often. Be aware of the requirements relating to terminating your maintenance contract (e.g. notice period), and what is and is not included in the contract.
Generally speaking, an ordinary service or maintenance contract covers functional testing at regular intervals, but not equipment upgrades, repair or replacement parts. So-called comprehensive contracts may include these additional things.
A maintenance contract is important to maintain proper functioning of your alarm system. Audible alarm systems should be checked once a year. A system that signals to an approved Alarm Receiving Centre needs to be serviced or maintained twice a year. Replacement of batteries before they degrade ensures alarm signalling functions correctly without false alarms or signalling failure due to power interruption. An NSI approved installer will also provide a 24/7 emergency number to contact the duty engineer in the event of a problem.
Using an NSI approved installer ensures your security system will be eligible for police response.
The installer will connect your system to an NSI approved Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), which will provide 24/7 monitoring of your system and contact the police when they believe security has been breached at your premises. You will need to set up a service agreement and maintenance contract to cover all these services.
A speech dialler on a security alarm system makes possible the communication of alarm information to a standard or mobile telephone by audio or text. A speech dialler can be used on a monitored or audible only alarm system, but this is not acceptable for police response and is generally an outdated means of communication.
This is a system which sounds an audible device eg an alarm bell or siren at the premises. There may be another supplementary alarm signal eg an alarm message sent to your mobile phone and/or your keyholders.
This is an electronic intruder or fire alarm system connected to and monitored by an approved remote monitoring or Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) providing 24/7 monitoring.
The best system for you depends on your property and your specific requirements. Your installer is best placed to recommend a solution based upon your individual needs.
Search the NSI Company Finder for an approved installer in your area.
You can search by geographical area and type of service you are looking for.
We suggest you ask a minimum of three companies to provide a quotation to make sure you get the best solution for your home or business.
It is always advisable to contact your insurer to make them aware, including details of when it will be erected, where on your property it is and how long it will be there for.
It is always advisable to check with your insurance company as policies differ. Many insurance companies do offer discounts for alarms installed by NSI approved companies
Insurers often specify the use of NSI approved companies, particularly for higher risk properties or sites, in the knowledge that NSI rigorously inspects the work of its approved companies against industry standards, so reducing risk.
NSI approval is a strong indicator the company can meet the relevant standards and codes of practice. Once a company is approved (following a thorough audit) it is committed to an ongoing audit programme of regular audits to ensure it continues to meet the latest applicable standards. NSI approval therefore provides confidence to business owners in a company is professionalism and capability to meet the necessary standards. Check the NSI company finder for the standards and codes of practise the company is approved for.
When you have completed your search on our Company Finder you can download the results in a pdf.
A risk assessment is carried out to ensure that in the case of system installations such as alarms or CCTV, the design is suitable for your security needs, taking into considerations your property, the potential areas of risk, and your own business requirements.
If you are contracting with a guarding/security personnel business, such as keyholding, cash in transit or door supervision, then the risk assessment is carried out to ensure that risks to you and your business and the security operatives are taken in to consideration.
Getting at least three quotations from approved companies will help you assess the market rate.
Things to consider/ask about;
- Do you require a “system installation” only or are you looking for an installation with ongoing maintenance and servicing?
- Do you want a police response to an alarm?
- Will the equipment be leased to you or are you purchasing it?
- What is the cost of routine maintenance and service visits (and how is booking handled)?
- What is the cost of emergency call-outs?
NSI approved companies will conduct security risk assessment and needs analysis, and offer solutions that meet your needs and are inherently secure.
The NSI scheme criteria requires conformance with British and European technical standards. These are copyrighted documents and can be purchased from here https://shop.bsigroup.com/
NSI conducts due diligence checks on companies to which it awards approval, to ensure the Directors of the Company have sufficient experience and are of good repute. Under all of NSI’s security schemes, all relevant personnel, including directors, within approved companies, are security screened to British Standard 7858.
Check the NSI Company Finder that which details the specific competence of each approved company.
NSI approved companies sign up to an ongoing programme of independent audits which check they continue to work in accordance with the latest relevant British and international standards and Codes of Practice. NSI approval shows a company’s suitability for approval in many ways including giving consideration to the financial standing of the company, the experience of the directors and staff, effective screening of security staff and the ability of the company to carry out work competently.
Maybe: some alarm systems may be affected.
You should contact your installer/maintenance company before your line is upgraded to check whether your alarm system requires adaptation or re-programming to ensure compatibility with the new IP network.
More information: The UK telephone service is going digital. It’s part of a Government programme to upgrade all services from PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to IP voice services between now and 2025.
All good alarm systems have back-up battery power. It ensures they remain for at least 12 hours in the event of a power outage (power cut). When power is restored following an outage, the system is designed to start working normally and also recharge the battery.
All batteries have limited life. Installers will change batteries after a defined period of time, around 3 or 4 years, to minimize the chances of a failing battery causing alarm system malfunction. Your installer typically tests batteries as part of every routine maintenance visit and will change batteries earlier if it is necessary to do so. Replacement battery costs, as with other replacement parts, may be charged over and above your regular maintenance charge.
A ‘single path’ solution, which includes a digital communicator connected to your telephone line (PSTN or IP). The communicator contacts the ARC to report faults and alarms on the system and makes a test call to the ARC daily to confirm the system is working correctly. The individual test calls (and any call charges) should appear on your telephone bill. A ‘dual path’ solution is more robust since if one path were to develop a fault, the second can act as a back-up, since it is unlikely to fail at the same time.
Your installer should inform you of the likely call costs in writing as part of your contract.
Higher graded ATSs mean that any faults or alarms on the communications network and intruder alarm system should be reported faster. Although you might have a Grade 2 alarm system you may be advised to have a Grade 3 or 4 ATS installed. Your installer should be able to explain this to you.
Your installer can offer you a choice of alarm transmission systems (ATS) to pass alarm and fault signals to the ARC. Your installer can explain the available options to you.
‘Dual path’ signalling is more resilient than ‘single path’. Insurers generally prefer it since it is unlikely that both paths will fail at the same time.
Dual path ATS solutions usually have an all-inclusive package for transmitting data so there are no ‘pay-as-you-go’ individual call charges.
Typically a dual path system includes a cable connection to the PSTN or IP network and a radio connection to a mobile network.
The radio connection might use GSM (cellular phone technology) or GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) transmissions. Some radio solutions connect to a single provider whereas other solutions might include a roaming SIM to enable connection to the best available service.
Your installer maintenance and monitoring contract will include the ARC services arranged by your installer. The ARC service may be provided by the same company as provides your alarm installation, or an approved sub-contracted specialist ARC service provider.
You can choose an alternative ARC service if you prefer, however you would then need to arrange the monitoring contract yourself. If you wish to do so, the monitoring service provider will probably want evidence your alarm system is properly maintained (to prevent false alarms).
See the section on alarm systems for FAQs about maintenance contracts.
If your alarm is installed by an NSI approved installer, then the monitoring of your alarm will be handled by an NSI approved Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).
ARCs are 24/7 highly secure, resilient, air-locked environments with their own standby power and back-up facilities to monitor your alarm signals. NSI expects NSI approved alarm installers to use ARCs that meet all NSI requirements, so you can be assured of NSI standards being applied to your security. For specific details refer to your installer’s Terms and Conditions.
NSI’s Gold certification of ARCs is unique in the market place and demands strict adherence to NSI’s criteria for approval. These include BS EN ISO 9001 – which is an internationally recognized standard for quality management systems, a bespoke NSI Quality Schedule, and all relevant industry standards and codes of practice applicable to ARCs. Like your NSI installer all NSI ARCs are subject to an ongoing audit programme that verifies they continue operating to the requisite standards.