D-Day approaches - ACS Accreditation

This is a big moment for us at K9 Protection. The calm before the storm, if you will.

Since starting trading in July 2011, lots has changed at K9. We've grown organically at a steady pace, we've moved offices from a back bedroom via serviced offices, then most recently to our current dedicated premises in Newport. We've built on our staff, continued developing our software to stay ahead of the curve, increased the CPD available to our team and built a bespoke monitoring station from scratch. What comes in the next few months is possibly more important than anything we've done so far as Monday 15th February 2021 is the day we go through our Stage 1 assessment for the Security Industry Authority's Approved Contractor Scheme and UKAS accredited ISO9001 certification.

K9 Protection have always been a procedure based business, as both our staff and clients will attest to - from the early days, everything has been designed with the mantra that if any one person won the Euromillions and quit on the spot that sufficient documentation exists to do their job, all of which that has been painstakingly written by hand by our operations team; now all of that is about to be looked over by someone from outside of the business as they look at how effective our documentation is and how well our team are able to follow the instructions they're given. When we first looked at ACS Accreditation, we looked at some templates that had been made available and decided very quickly that in no uncertain terms they were horrid: Collections of documents stolen from other company's quality management systems and bolted together after a quick search and replace to rebrand all the documents - it was very clear to us that this method wasn't for us, so we started from scratch.

When we first looked at the ACS system it must've been around 2013, and we started working our way through the ACS workbook that the SIA kindly provided, only for running the business to take priority and ACS to get put on the back burner on more than one occasion. Fun fact: The ACS Workbook has been updated completely 3 times during this period... The progress tracker didn't store your notes from one change to the next. Not fun! We had the core policies and procedures that we needed to do our job and do it well already in place, but the ACS workbook process was a learning curve that brought up things we hadn't even thought of - I mean, so many things that we already "just did" that we didn't think to document... Data backups, Sponsoring our football team, even things like documenting the way we use our social media accounts and formalising the way we manage debtors had to be carried out. Fast forward to December last year and we finally decided on balance that we're about as ready as we're going to be to be assessed and anything else was going to be over-egging the pudding so with this in mind we spoke with the good people at CCAS and booked our assessment; then we relaxed! (We didn't really relax... we booked the assessment a week before Christmas and then went in to our busiest time of the year!), and here we are on the eve of a new dawn.

When Monday comes, our entire quality management system is going to be looked over by our assessor who will go through it and identify any shortfalls, signposting us to what we need to do ready for the real assessment slightly further down the line - I'm likening this to an NVQ for our business, it's the only way I can currently make sense of it. We are not going to sail through this, and anyone that says they did with no advice, I'd guess they also catch the biggest fish but throw it back before you get to see it but the really scary part of this adventure is that whilst I'm apprehensive about the results, I'm actually excited to see what we can learn from this and loading the remedial actions in to the task list for me and the team to work through it.

Wish us luck and watch this space - I'll let you know how it went!