Security: Private Companies
House of Lords
Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We have been working for a number of years on how best to ensure there is a national and international regulatory system in place for the private security sector that is practicable, affordable and effective, that raises private security company standards globally and minimises the risk of human rights abuses.
We expect our trade association partners, the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) established by ADS (Aerospace, Defence and Security), to present Ministers shortly with options for a system of voluntary national regulation based on independent auditing and certification to internationally recognised professional standards by nationally accredited certifying bodies. We are also in discussions with the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) about the process for the selection and appointment of independent auditors.
At an international level we are continuing to work with government, industry and civil society partners to establish a governance and oversight mechanism for the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICOC). Following public consultation on a first draft charter for the ICOC, we are currently working towards a second draft which is likely to be produced in the autumn. The governance body of the ICOC will be able to evaluate national standards and certification arrangements for private security companies against the ICOC's principles, which are based on international humanitarian law and human rights.
The Government will use their leverage as a key buyer of private security services to promote compliance with the ICOC and to encourage other private security sector clients to do likewise.