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Championing EDI – How IPSA is Paving the Way for Inclusivity and Diversity in the Security Sector

Championing EDI – How IPSA is Paving the Way for Inclusivity and Diversity in the Security Sector
21 December 2023
 

Satia Rai, CEO at IPSA & Head of Belonging at Securitas UK, outlines why it's essential for the security industry to “reflect who it protects”.

Satia is the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) CEO & Head of Belonging at Securitas UK. Satia has enjoyed an extensive career in the security profession starting on the front line in the retail sector, nearly 30 years ago. She progressed to management and senior leadership roles, with experience in security services and risk management within the public and private sector at both operational and strategic levels. Satia has played a significant role at C-suite level in various key organisations and has an exceptional record of leading transformational change within the security sector. As well as being a dedicated security professional, she is an outstanding spokesperson for equality, diversity and inclusivity in all of its forms.

In a voluntary capacity a member of the Security Skills Board and is Chair of the Security EDI Forum, she is a member of the International Security Expo Advisory Council and she also participates in the Security Industry Authority (SIA) stakeholder forum. Satia is a committee member of LGBT+ Facilities Management (FM).

Satia is a winner of the Young Professional of the year 2022 Award for the Institute of Strategic Risk Management award (ISRM) and a finalist in 2022 for the Women in Security Awards (WiS) and Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs) 2023. Satia is a winner of the BSIA Chairman's award 2023.

 

"As we continue to champion EDI & B, our vision for the future is clear: a security sector where diversity is not just welcomed but is regarded as a cornerstone of our collective strength and success."

 

Driving the Security Industry Forward

 

My story begins in a modest three-bedroom house in Bedford, shared with twelve family members. Today, as the CEO of the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) and Head of Belonging for Securitas, I reflect on my journey with a deep sense of gratitude. It's not the titles that define me, but rather the values of hard work, community, and resilience instilled in me from a young age. These values have been my compass in making meaningful contributions to the security industry, particularly as a gay woman.

As we navigate through an era of profound change, the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) remains steadfast in its commitment to championing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDI&B) in the security sector. As the CEO of IPSA, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of embracing inclusivity and diversity, not just as concepts, but as actionable principles that drive our industry forward.

 

Security Industry EDI & B Code of Practice

 

In recent times, we have made remarkable strides in elevating the importance of EDI &B within the security sector. Our approach is multi-faceted, focusing on creating a culture that is not only accepting but also celebratory of differences. 

This commitment was vividly showcased at the EDI Forum held on 1 November in London, where industry leaders gathered to discuss and strategise the future of inclusivity and diversity in security. Overall, it was a testament to our dedication, and values at the very core of our practices. A key focus of the forum was the development of a security EDI & B code of practice. This guide, endorsed by the SIA and leading companies within the forum, will be available to all members of the security industry, regardless of their company size. It is designed to be adopted by all, promoting active involvement in embedding EDI & B into workplace culture and individual commitments.

The mission statement, reviewed at the forum, echoes a powerful message: 

"We want every single member of our industry to feel that their employers guarantee them the provision of certainty of wellbeing and belonging during their journey through the industry. We want to establish a bespoke security industry code of practice (COP) that we can embed into current company and industry frameworks - we want this COP to also play a significant role in recruitment and retention that is universally adapted and aligns other industry goals in improving the industry.

We want our industry COP to set out benchmarks to make our industry have a full 360-degree approach to EDI &B in the workplace in order for ALL our companies who make up our industry literally ‘reflect who we protect’”

 

  • We will create a security EDI & B code of practice – a guide available to all members of the security industry, endorsed by the SIA and the leading companies on the forum - it will be designed to be available to all companies large and small to adopt and to actively promote their involvement in embedding into their workplace culture and to be used in their individual commitments to EDI.
  • We will identify current EDI &B policies across the security industry – companies and institutes and member bodies to provide their guides and for the EDI forum to analyse (agree to what we are measuring).
  • We will identify current standards and analyse whether these policies are reflected in current industry guidance (what can we take from current COPs).
  • We will identify any gaps – align all current policies with guidance and check for any discrepancies.
  • We will identify any omissions in standards related to security.

 

"I Belong" Campaign

 

Once the Security Industry EDI&B COP has been created, we will create a campaign around "I Belong", promoting the COP to our industry members and end users encouraging adoption of the COP and its policies, and creating an endorsement of this through the “I Belong” logo.

The logo “I Belong” will be provided to companies who identify as having followed the "I Belong" standard and this will be promoted to encourage potential new members to the industry; we will create advocates of best practice and identify partners who can assist in embedding awareness.

It's not just a slogan; it's a movement. By displaying the “I Belong” logo, companies publicly endorse their commitment to EDI & B, encouraging others to follow suit. This campaign is about building a community within the security sector that values and celebrates diversity in all its forms.

 

The Process of Creating a Code of Practice

 

Our journey begins with a thorough investigation phase, from September to December 2023, where we will meticulously examine current EDI policies across the sector, analyse existing standards, and identify any gaps or omissions in relation to security. The following phase, planning, will span from January to March 2024, where we will strategise the integration of these findings into a comprehensive Security Industry EDI Code of Practice (COP).

The penultimate phase, writing, scheduled for April to September 2024, is where our aspirations take form in writing, crystallizing our commitment into a guide that will serve all industry members, irrespective of company size. This guide is not just a document; it's a manifesto for change, designed to promote active involvement in EDI across workplace cultures and individual commitments. Lastly, the revision phase from September to November 2024 ensures that our COP is not only reflective of our industry's values but also a beacon for best practices in EDI.

This statement underlines our commitment to establishing a bespoke security industry code of practice (COP), which aims to be universally adapted, playing a pivotal role in recruitment and retention and aligning with other industry goals to improve the sector.

Our efforts extend beyond policy-making. We actively engage with stakeholders across the spectrum – from government bodies to academia – to ensure that our initiatives have a wide-reaching impact. This collaborative approach is pivotal in creating an industry-wide change, influencing not just our immediate circle but also the broader community we serve.

The journey towards a more inclusive and diverse security sector is ongoing, and while challenges remain, the progress we have made is undeniable. As the CEO of IPSA, I am proud of the role we have played in this journey. Our work is far from over, but with each step, we move closer to an industry that not only accepts but also embraces and celebrates the uniqueness of each individual.

As we continue to champion EDI & B, our vision for the future is clear: a security sector where diversity is not just welcomed but is regarded as a cornerstone of our collective strength and success. Together, we are paving the way towards a more inclusive and equitable industry, and I am excited to lead IPSA as we contribute to this vital transformation.

Throughout this journey, the challenges and triumphs I've encountered have only deepened my commitment to fostering an environment where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated. While the path has not always been easy, and there are still obstacles to overcome, the progress we've made towards a more inclusive industry is a testament to the power of perseverance and collective effort.

Picture: a photograph of Satia. Image Credit: IPSA

Article written by Satia Rai | Published 21 December 2023

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