Government to adopt outcome-based contracts for security industry by May 1, 2020

The operation room of Transcom with officers manning the security of MRT stations and bus interchanges through CCTVs. Singapore is working towards having the systems used for video analytics across Singapore standardised, and made more "intelligent". PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - All government agencies will be required to adopt outcome-based security contracts - which specify exactly what the agency hopes to achieve - by May 1, 2020.

These contracts will focus on the outputs and outcomes that can be carried out, which in the long term can resolve manpower issues and reduce costs.

This differs from traditional, manpower-based contracts for security agencies, where a fixed number of security personnel is deployed, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, Ms Sun Xueling, on Wednesday (Oct 2).

It was earlier reported that agencies such as the Housing Board and Education Ministry are prepared to start the switch before mid-2019.

"We hope this will create sufficient momentum for the industry to work towards the adoption of outcome-based contracts," she said at the 2019 Security Industry Conference at Marina Bay Sands.

Having the whole of government adopt these contracts is among three initiatives mentioned by Ms Sun that are necessary to create more synergy between technology, and the security industry.

To combat possible manpower shortages, Singapore is also working towards having the systems used for video analytics across the country be standardised, and made more "intelligent".

Meanwhile, security consultants will soon be able to get accredited with new qualifications under training procedures to make them more capable and competent.

Now, security consultants carry out risk assessments to identify what needs to be protected and how best to provide this protection.

So with this new accreditation framework, in addition to the existing pool of around 100 security consultants, there may be more than 250 recognised security consultants working here by 2021.

This framework will be developed under a Memorandum of Understanding signed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Association of Certified Security Agencies, and the Security Association Singapore.

These initiatives come as Singapore is rapidly stepping up its use of technology to keep its security industry relevant in the face of heightened security threats, said Ms Sun.

"Having the right technology and skilled security officers is not enough. These are constituent parts, or building blocks, of an integrated security solution.

"Just like how cement binds together different materials in construction, we need similar 'binders' to bring together technology and skilled security officers to create an integrated security solution," she said.

As such, the plans will help both public and private sectors make their security set-ups more tech-savvy and to reduce reliance on manpower, as agencies are starting to find it difficult to fill vacancies for security officers.

Half of the Republic's current pool of security officers are over 55 years old as Singapore contends with an ageing workforce.

Mr Andy Tan, director of the Centre for Protective Security, Singapore Police Force, said that what this new focus on tech-based security will do is keep Singapore safe and secure by hiring and training more competent and professional security officers.

"Security officers work alongside the Home Team to keep Singapore safe and secure. It is our common interest to build a more competent and professional security industry, where security officers are equipped with the necessary skill sets to discharge their important security roles effectively," he said.

"Beyond minimum standards, we will want to enhance proficiency of our security officers, leveraging on technology, to enhance security outcomes for all," he added.

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