3 Problems (and Solutions) When Managing Your Security Officer Contract

February 25, 2021
Jim Strife, CPP, PCI, CHPA &

Have you ever been unhappy with the performance of your organization’s contracted security officers? Did you feel that their leadership was not communicating effectively with you to set goals, meet expectations and fix problems? Have you ever been surprised by the officers’ actions or felt that you had no recourse when problems were not corrected? The challenge could be your contract.

There are several critical components to establishing an effective contract security officer program that should be set at the beginning of the Request for Proposal (RFP). A detailed, clear, and unambiguous Statement of Work (SOW) leaves no doubt about what you expect from your security services provider. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) details your expectations and the service provider’s obligations, and your recourse if agreed upon obligations are not met. Also, Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) processes and tools for periodic performance evaluation are crucial to evaluating your security officer services program’s health. In this blog, we discuss three common problems you may experience when dealing with security officer contracts and how you can solve them.

1. The problem: Inadequate SOW.

The lynchpin to a solid security officer program identifies the specific duties and performance expectations you have for the security company. These must be firmly established in the SOW and be detailed, specific, thorough, and leave no doubt about the security provider’s duties in hiring, training, and operations. The SOW serves as the portion of the contract you and the security firm can reference if there is any disagreement regarding contract work requirements or standards. A poorly written SOW often leads to substandard performance that you, the client, has little recourse to correct.

The solution: Take great care in the development of your SOW. Consider having a third party provide an expert review of your current SOW and recommend changes to improve and clarify the security officer provider’s requirements or to assist in writing the initial contract SOW. This helps you develop a SOW that serves as a solid basis for security officer performance.

2. The problem: SLAs are missing from your security services contract.

An SLA is the part of the contract between an organization and its security service provider that details the relationship’s obligations and expectations. The SLA is where you work through expectations and ensure both you and your provider are on the same page from the start. Establishing clear and measurable performance expectations is critical in reducing the risk of your provider disappointing you while providing you with recourse if obligations are not met.

If the service provider fails to meet their performance obligations, there can be significant consequences for the safety and security of your organization’s people, property, reputation, and bottom line. SLAs can include monetary consequences if agreed-upon standards are not met and can assist you if losses are incurred. The SLA focuses specifically on the agreed performance metrics by establishing quality service measurements.

The solution: Work with your supply chain and contracts administrator to ensure they include SLAs in your contract vehicle. If you are inexperienced with SLAs, have a third-party help craft an appropriate SLA.

3. The problem: Weak or non-existent QA/QC programs.

A QA/QC program is critical when evaluating the performance of your security officer provider. Failing to have a robust evaluation program with tools that allow you to track metrics and document deficiencies hampers your ability to correct performance issues. Failing to have this documentation makes releasing a poor provider more difficult.

The solution: Your QA/QC program, with examples of quality assurance tools, should be clearly outlined in the contract. We recommend having managers conduct monthly performance surveys with the senior security manager. This is a proactive way to gain situational awareness and allows for the evaluation of issues as well as the recognition of exceptional officer performance. Also, scheduling formal quarterly performance reviews with your security provider’s leadership provides detailed accounts of the interactions between you and the vendor, reviewing quarterly performance and setting goals for future check-ins.

Gannett Fleming can help you as a trusted advisor when creating a contracting plan, establishing expectations, and carrying out audits for your security officer program. Now that you know some of the proper precautions and actions, dangers that target your business can be avoided. Check out our next blog on this topic: “3 (More) Problems (and Solutions) when Managing Your Security Officer Contract.”