The OU is rated in the top ten of UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, since the survey began in 2005. In 2013/14 it had a 91% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities having both an access mission and demonstrating research excellence.

Headquartered at Walton Hall, a 110-acre site in Milton Keynes, the site comprises 63 individual buildings and blocks that provide offices, laboratories, lecture halls, sports and social areas for over 4,000 staff. There are also and twelve regional and national administrative centres and two warehouse locations.

The Open University recognises the importance of having a high quality security operation in place and, for the last seven years Corps Security has been charged with making sure that all of these environments are safe and secure.

Corps Security’s regional operations director, Nigel Horne, explains, ‘The security operation at Walton Hall comprises a mix of manned guarding and surveillance technology. The manned guarding team consists of 16 core staff and seven relief personnel, with four officers on each shift. We ensure that all of those deployed understand the specific requirements necessary for carrying out their duties on this unique site, which include door locking/unlocking and car park management.’

There is an extensive road layout on site, with public rights of access on certain parts of it. While open access to this large and complex site is seen as an essential ingredient of academic life and a positive attribute, this policy does have a certain level of risk attached to it. As such, all officers are given Operation Fairway training and a five day on-site awareness course. Sensitive questioning, recognising hostile reconnaissance, post room threats and even sign language training is also delivered to enhance vigilance, while experts from Corps Security also carry out regular ‘train the trainer’ style modules to supervisors and team leaders.

As well as manned guarding services, Corps Security now supplies The Open University with remote intruder detection, access control and fire alarm monitoring services via its state-of-the-art Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC). This Glasgow based facility utilises only the very latest high specification technology and its credentials include National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Gold accreditation alongside BS 8418 and ISO 9001:2008 certifications.

Corps Security’s reputation for excellence is based on its ability to continually innovate to exceed its customers’ expectations. Nigel Horne comments, ‘Security is often viewed as an intangible service, so we have developed a system where it is possible to accurately measure our performance and clearly identify any areas that need addressing. At The Open University we have developed a system to define a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative data. To encourage a strict regime of continuous service review and appraisal, regular meetings take place where we analyse achievements against agreed standards and look at where improvements could be made.’

This KPI assessment analyses everything from training and incident reporting to management visits and even the appearance and communications skills of officers. Scores are allocated using a simple 1-4 marking scheme – where 1 (0 per cent) is poor and 4 (100 per cent) is excellent. The target for Corps Security is to score 3 or 4 – and this has been done so, on average, 98.25% of the time in the last rolling 12 month period.

Asked to describe the secret behind the success of the working relationship between Corps Security and The Open University, Nigel Horne replies, ‘It can be encapsulated in one word – partnership. Both parties demonstrate a willingness to work together in a way that encourages open channels of communication. This means that any necessary changes can be put into effect quickly to achieve common goals and objectives.’

This view is shared by Mary Legge, Head of Operations, Estates at The Open University, who concludes, ‘ Corps Security provide an excellent service across all our sites and   are an exemplar of how a manned guarding team should operate. They are an invaluable part of our operation and the positive feedback I receive from staff, students and visitors underscores how highly valued they are.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Now in their seventeenth year, the Security Personnel Awards mark the achievements and contributions made by those working in the UK’s private security industry. James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA, said, ‘Each year, the Security Personnel Awards serve to demonstrate the high calibre of individuals employed within our industry.’

Since joining Corps Security in 2013 Clarence has made an overwhelmingly positive impression amongst colleagues and customers alike. He was nominated for the Best Newcomer award due to his ability to consistently deliver an outstanding level of customer service and raise the performance of others in the teams he works alongside. Always willing to share his knowledge, he provides voluntary mentoring for new recruits or younger members of the organisation, in order to make them feel welcome and to ensure that they conduct their duties in the correct manner.

Commenting on his award, Clarence said, ‘I’m delighted to have been presented with this prestigious accolade and to have my work for Corps Security recognised in this way. Since joining the company I have been encouraged to learn as much as I can about the security industry. The first-class training and skills development that I have been given has provided me with the impetus to go as far as I possibly can in my chosen career.’

Due to his ‘can-do’ attitude, many of Corps Security’s customers have requested that Clarence remains on their sites as a part of a permanent team. They have all remarked upon his approachable personality and ability to perform his role in a way that personifies the Corps Security ethos.

‘It is hard to believe that someone who is as new to the industry as Clarence is able to perform his duties with such professionalism, skill and dedication,’ commented Peter Webster, Corps Security’s Chief Executive. ‘We are incredibly proud of him for winning the hotly contested BSIA Regional Security Personnel Award for Best Newcomer and wish him all the best for the national competition.’

The awards recognise the UK’s top suppliers, manufacturers, teams and individuals from the past year. Showcasing the very best talent that the UK offers event organisers from across the globe, many event-procuring services recognise the awards as a symbol of excellence.

Jason Taylor, Event Sales and Marketing Manager for Corps Security, describes what this achievement means: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for 2015! The news comes after a great year of success in 2014 and really confirms the quality of our service. The Commonwealth Games was a great success for us, but this was by no means our only event for the year and The Event Production Award recognises consistency of quality, not just a single achievement.

Our team of Commissionaires were at events like The New Forest and Hampshire Show, The Great Yorkshire Show and The Amateur Championships – and we had a vast number of colleagues who travelled to the Games in Glasgow for the summer – so to be shortlisted is testament to their great work.  We thank them for this’.

Winners of the Event Production Awards will not be announced until the 1st of April, with the ceremony taking place at The Lancaster Hotel… Fingers crossed.

For further information, please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or email info@corpssecurity.co.uk.

Davies has been involved in delivering the highest profile security and building control projects within the UK over the last 20 years, working for some of the largest corporates within this space.  His background is as a strategist and he will be expanding upon the business sectors that the company currently addresses.

When asked about his reason for choosing to work with Corps Security, Ralph said: The opportunity to be able to influence and mould a developing market for Corps was a key factor for my decision.  My approach will focus on advising customers on ways they can improve business technology and realise a better return on investment”.

Ralph is hoping to use his skill set, which combines intelligent building solutions with advanced security monitoring, in order to really make a difference at Corps.

He continues: “The technology that Corps Security employs within its monitoring centre is probably the best I’ve seen, focusing on open system technologies, which will provide the team and I with so many opportunities to grow the business.   The company also truly values its employees, evidenced by its award winning Colleague Charter that sets out its unique ‘circle of care’”.

According to CEO, Peter Webster: “Ralph is a very welcome addition to our team and I am looking forward to his creative input that I am sure will have a really positive impact on our business.”

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

The 27th of November could certainly be deemed a success in the Corps Security calendar as it scooped two top awards in two prestigious award ceremonies simultaneously.

Firstly at the SaBRE Defence Employer Recognition Scheme event the company was presented with a silver award in national recognition of its commitment to the Armed Forces.  Held on board the HMS President, The Defence Employer recognition scheme rewards and recognises UK employers for their support and commitment towards Defence.  The scheme encompasses gold, silver and bronze awards for employer organisations which pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Defence community and align their values and activities with the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.  Silver award holders demonstrate support for Defence, employing at least one reservist, actively communicating and upholding a positive stance to their employees via established HR policies and procedures.

The second success of the day was at the IFSEC Security & Fire Excellence Awards 2014, where once again Corps Security had its excellence in human resources (HR) recognised by winning the prestigious Inspiration in HR Award. The company was also a finalist in two other categories – Security Guarding Company of the Year and Event Security Team of the Year – at a ceremony and gala dinner, which took place at the famous Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London.

Now in their sixteenth year, IFSEC’s Security & Fire Excellence Awards celebrate the practitioners and projects that represent the best the industry has to offer. Award entries were judged by a panel of independent experts from all areas of the fire and security sector including end users, academics and the police.

The Inspiration in HR Award acknowledges the outstanding work of HR teams and recognises those who make a significant impact in terms of management and corporate performance. Corps Security’s success follows its triumph in the same category in 2012 and cements its position as a pioneer in employee engagement, care and career progression within the security industry.

Corps Security’s nomination was based on the achievements of its HR team when tasked with assessing the wider needs and concerns of client facing personnel. It devised a bespoke colleague engagement survey called Your View Matters (YVM) and established a range of initiatives to address the needs and concerns that were highlighted.

The completed surveys were analysed and each regional management team was given a presentation by HR summarising the results at both national and regional level. From those presentations each region and branch, in conjunction with HR, devised its own programme and specific written action plan to improve the scores. The measures introduced included team briefing sessions, counselling and bespoke training.

When compared to the previous year’s survey results, this year there were improvements in four of the five categories, with the other category recording the same percentage score as 2013. YVM has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on Corps Security’s operation, with contract retention at its highest ever level, shift fulfilment consistently over 99 per cent and employee turnover at just under eight per cent.

After installing these two new additions into the ever expanding award cabinet Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster, commented, ‘I’m incredibly proud of the teams that have been involved in securing these awards. We continually invest in our people so they get the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers and I’m delighted that there is an external mechanism that also acknowledges their achievements in this way.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

It was the third time that Scotland had hosted the Commonwealth Games, and there was enormous public interest and support for it. Featuring 17 sports over 11 days of competition, 261 different medal events took place in 14 individual venues on three compact site clusters to the east, south and west of the city centre.

With such a busy competition agenda and a high density of people in and around the venues, ensuring the safety of athletes, spectators and officials, as well as property and assets, was of paramount importance. As a result, Glasgow 2014 recognised the need to use specialist security solutions experts, which is why Corps Security was appointed in January 2014 to provide event security and related services for the Glasgow Green Precinct and nearby Holiday Inn.

‘The Glasgow Green Precinct was the venue for the finish of the marathon as well as the cycling time trials and road races,’ explains Jason Taylor, Corps Security’s event sales and marketing manager. ‘Our key operational objectives were to maintain safety and security in the immediate environment, provide support to the venue management team throughout the deployment, and ensure that any live broadcasts were not disrupted. Meanwhile, at the Holiday Inn, we were tasked with maintaining a safe environment for members of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), who resided there.’

Corps Security has significant experience in providing event management and crowd safety services, which have to abide by strict health and safety legislation. Dedicated to professionalism in this area, members of the company’s senior management team are currently undertaking crowd safety management degrees at Bucks New University, enabling it to boast some of the most well qualified personnel in the sector.

Soon after being awarded the contract, Corps Security began preparing its strategy with the appointment of a project group, comprising experts from across the organisation. Taylor comments, ‘With the project team in place we then initiated a vigorous and robust recruitment process, with the thorough assessment and screening of 853 potential candidates, of which we appointed approximately 60. After being chosen for their particular skills and expertise, the selected individuals were given additional event specific training, with 23 courses completed across the UK by four trainers over a total of 1,344 hours. Also during this time, we were asked if we could undertake additional security based tasks by Glasgow 2014, which we politely declined, as we felt there was not enough time to carry out a thorough recruitment and training process for any additional candidates.’

Deployment began on 16th June and at its peak 117 Corps Security licensed officers were in operation, carrying out a variety of roles including crowd safety, event CCTV monitoring, VIP and athlete protection and general event security.

Explaining some of the challenges faced, Taylor states, ‘We needed to maintain an excellent standard of reliability and colleague engagement throughout. This was achieved through the implementation of a consistent management structure and allocation of duties, which was also helped by a fantastic attitude demonstrated by all members of the team. I’m particularly pleased to report that we achieved 100 per cent attendance throughout the period of deployment, which concluded on 15thAugust. This is remarkable given that 2,075 shifts were completed.’

Corps Security was one of 17 security and crowd safety service providers working at Glasgow 2014. This necessitated cooperation and collaboration between these organisations but also meant that each was able to provide personnel of the highest calibre. Ultimately, this proved an enormously successful strategy and demonstrated the lessons learnt from the problems experienced at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bert van Horck , Head of Event Services at G2014 is delighted with the role Corps Security played in the success of the XX Commonwealth Games, and concludes, ‘I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism displayed and the way that officers carried out their tasks in an effective, efficient and polite manner at all times. The company is clearly a leader in its field and was able to deliver a quality service in the uniquely pressurised environment of a high profile global sporting event.’

Subsequent to its work on this project Corps Security’s Commonwealth Games Event team has been nominated as the ‘Event Security Team of the Year’ in the Security & Fire Excellence Awards 2014.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Severe is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels that have been used by the government since 2006 to warn of terrorist activity. It indicates the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK is highly likely, although speaking at the time Theresa May stressed that there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.

However, Peter Webster believes that all organisations – particularly those with strong links to the USA or UK – must step up their counter terrorism activities. Drawing on his vast knowledge and experience as leader of the nation’s leading provider of specialist security solutions, Peter Webster said, ‘I fully appreciate that this is easier said than done and countering covert threats can be difficult. However, what I find concerning is that there is sometimes a reluctance to look at the bigger picture in terms of identifying the reasons that a particular organisation could be a target, where a threat might originate from and what to do about it.’

Peter Webster argues that the key to effective preventative action is for companies to undertake a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. He concluded, ‘One of the main barriers to effective security is a “silo mentality” rather than an inclusive policy of shared thinking, planning and action using the concept of convergence of security risk. Adopting this approach will require some organisations to re-examine their existing security strategies but it is only by doing so that they will be in the best possible position to address this clear and present danger.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

With an early evening start at the Corps Security headquarters in Cowcross Street, London, the team took it in turns on a static rowing machine to row all through the night and all of the following day.

The team, which included Gary Broad, Rob Hill and Jason Taylor, were in full view of passers by throughout the gruelling event and £200 of the money raised resulted from public donations who dropped money into collection buckets on the street.

The money will be evenly split between the company’s chosen charity – the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund – and the individuals’ preferred charities which are the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Mind.

Participant Gary Broad said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the general public, colleagues and business partners for their support and generosity. It was a really tough challenge but the camaraderie kept us going and we’re delighted with the total amount raised.”

For anyone still wishing to make a donation, please visit the Virgin Money Giving page on http://virginmoneygiving.com/team/CorpsSecurityRowathon .

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Corps Security, the leading provider of specialist security solutions, has announced the latest high profile appointment to its senior management team, with Mark Rogers joining as its major account development director.

With a remit to spearhead business development activities across a wide range of new sectors, Mark’s appointment into this newly created role will accelerate the company’s growth strategy and facilitate increased awareness of the diverse services it offers. Through identifying and negotiating new opportunities for service delivery, he will work closely with large corporate clients to promote Corps Security’s ability to provide the knowledge, expertise and best-in-class service that only a security specialist can.

With a long established and highly successful career within the facilities management (FM) sector, Mark joins Corps Security from Compass Group PLC. As a company director, he oversaw the management of the sales and marketing team, a role in which he achieved exceptional organic growth in key target markets including retail, leisure and hospitality.

Mark is confident that he will build on his already impressive achievements in his new role. He commented, ‘Having worked extensively in the FM sector for over 20 years, I’ve long been aware of the important part that efficient and effective security provision plays in keeping customers’ people, property and assets safe. Security has never been more vital than it is today and Corps Security’s ability to offer specialist services that are carried out to the highest possible standards, means that there is enormous potential for the company to experience significant growth in FM and other key sectors by forming long-term working relationships. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to make this happen.’

Mark is particularly impressed with Corps Security’s ability to combine traditional values with a modern approach. With its motto of ‘loyalty, integrity, service’, its fresh, friendly and flexible approach means that it is already the specialist security solutions provider of choice for organisations across a wide range of business and operational sectors.

Welcoming Mark on board, Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster, concluded, ‘Having a background in FM myself, I’ve long been aware of Mark and his exceptional professional achievements. When we decided to appoint a major account development director, he was the ideal candidate and, therefore, I’m thrilled that he has joined us. I’m looking forward to working with him in taking Corps Security to the next level of success.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Now in their sixteenth year, the BSIA Security Personnel Awards pay tribute to those who go to extra lengths to exceed expectations. James Kelly, chief executive at the BSIA, commented, ‘It is always fantastic to see the high level of achievements within the security industry. The awards are always so hard to judge due to the exceptional standard of applicants, and this year was no exception.’

The Best Team accolade went to Corps Security’s 27 strong contingent operating at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon. With up to 1,500 Royal Marines trainees on-site at any one time, the CTCRM has to be tightly guarded and protected from the possibility of a terrorist or other security threat. The site is extremely busy, with people entering the facility through two main access points on a 24-hour basis.

The Corps Security team is charged with checking personal identity cards and vehicle passes, and carrying out vehicle checks. Not only do the individuals in the team have to work well together, they also enjoy a great relationship and rapport with the staff and trainees at CTCRM. This was recognised by the judges, who identified the team’s ability to communicate effectively, carry out their duties with enthusiasm and flexibility, and ‘go the extra mile’ as important elements of the team’s star quality.

While teamwork is highly valued at Corps Security, so too is the dedication of individual officers. This commitment is exemplified in Leonard Brownsword, who won the Service to the Customer award. The 65-year-old is senior site supervisor at the Joint Service Adventure Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) in Gosport, Hants – a 6.3-acre site that provides sail training for the armed forces.

Len Brownsword has worked on the site for 13 years, and has incorporated himself so effectively into the structure of the site that he is not viewed as a contractor, but rather as one of the permanent staff. This means that he often knows well in advance when events are happening and is able to put procedures or staff in place to deal with them. This is all done with minimal consultation in order to avoid any unnecessary work for the customer.

Extremely effective and highly regarded by whoever he has to deal with, the judges praised his loyalty and determination to provide a service of the highest possible standard, as well as his ability to understand JSASTC’s developing requirements from its security team.

‘We strive to provide our customers with a level of service that is unrivalled elsewhere in the manned guarding sector,’ commented Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster. ‘Having this recognised at the BSIA Security Personnel Awards 2014 is confirmation that we are meeting our objectives and I would like to congratulate both Len Brownsword and the CTCRM team on their awards, which are thoroughly deserved.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500  or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk