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ISO 18788 certification and its benefits for Private Security Companies

The implementation of a Private Security Operations Management System in accordance with the ISO 18788 International Standard can represent an important competitive advantage in the current context in which private security companies operate, especially in Latin American countries, and more. even when an internationally accredited certification body gives public faith that a company complies with this international standard.

Benefits of the Implementation of a Private Security Operations Management System (SGOSP) in accordance with the International Standard ISO 18788

The implementation of a Private Security Operations Management System (SGOSP) in a private security company provides multiple real and tangible benefits, which are independent of the SGOSP certification by a certification body.

Some examples of these potential benefits are:

  1. Improves the quality of the services provided to its customers, increasing their satisfaction in their relationship with the company,

  2. Improves the degree of compliance with the objectives and goals established in its strategic planning,

  3. Helps ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements that apply to you

  4. Controls and reduces its operational and financial risks to tolerable levels,

  5. Facilitates the induction and training of your new staff,

  6. Improves the organizational culture, the work environment and the satisfaction of its collaborators with their work,

  7. Strengthens and complements the effectiveness and efficiency of your tactical operations,

  8. It makes it an aspirational company for the best talent in the private security field, and

  9. It contributes to the continuous improvement of its processes and the results of its services.

Benefits of ISO 18788 Certification

In addition to the benefits mentioned in the previous section, the competitiveness of private security companies will be significantly improved thanks to obtaining international recognition such as the ISO 18788 Certification of their management system.

The certification of this Private Security Operations Management System (SGOSP) in accordance with the ISO 18788 Standard by an internationally accredited certification body allows the company to provide its clients and other interested parties with the necessary confidence that its operations are carried out. carried out in accordance with internationally accepted good practices, with applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and respecting human rights.

Obtaining this certification can be an important competitive advantage in contests or tenders with potential clients who are sensitive to this type of recognition when hiring private security services.

In some countries, once there is a minimum number of companies certified in accordance with this standard, government institutions can include as an evaluation criterion in their tenders whether or not a bidding company has this certification.

But in any case, one of the most obvious, certain and significant benefits of the ISO 18788 certification of the management system is the improvement of the prestige and reputation of the private security company.

Obtaining ISO 18788 Certification

In order to obtain ISO 18788 certification of its private security operations management system, a company must develop, document and implement this management system, complying with the requirements specified in this International Standard, with the applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and with the requirements contained in the complementary reference documents of this standard, such as the Montreux Document, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC), and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Once the company verifies compliance with these requirements through an Internal Audit and preferably when the review of the status and performance of the management system by Senior Management has been carried out, it is time to audit the system for its certification by an internationally accredited certification body.

To obtain this ISO 18788 certification, it is necessary to successfully pass two audits:

1) A First Stage Audit, in which the certifying body carries out a documentary review to verify the adequacy of the implemented management system, in which generally a general revision or verification of its facilities is also carried out to gain a brief overview of the company and its operations; and it is ratified that at least one internal audit has already been carried out on all the SGOSP implemented and that all the information resulting from the evaluation and monitoring of its performance has been submitted for review by the company's senior management. If non-conformities are found in this first stage audit, they are documented and reported to the company so that they can be corrected, and the feasibility and dates of the certification audit are established, and

2) A Certification Audit, in which the agency's audit team makes a formal, objective and documented assessment of the degree of compliance with regulatory requirements and those internally established by the company, as well as its effectiveness. This audit is carried out at the company's offices and operating sites, based mainly on interviews with those responsible for carrying out all operational, tactical, logistical and administrative support processes. If non-conformities are still found in this certification audit, they are documented in the audit report, and the company is given adequate time to present evidence that they have been adequately and effectively addressed. Once the non-conformities found in the certification audit have been closed, the audit team recommends the certification of the company in accordance with the ISO 18788 Standard, and the organization delivers the corresponding certificate a few weeks later..

ISO 18788 Certification Cost

ISO 18788 certification by an internationally accredited certification body has a cost that is calculated based on the following criteria:

  • The size of the company, in number of collaborators

  • The number and complexity of the security processes carried out (escorts, intramural, asset transportation, etc.)

  • The number of operating sites, both fixed and temporary, and

  • The levels of security risk you face

These factors will determine the number of auditor days that will be necessary and this will be similar between the different certification bodies. However, an important variable is the price per auditor-day that each organization quotes. The more expensive an organism does not necessarily mean that it is 'better'. But it is also important to take into account that in this type of services, the cheapest, can result in a poor cost-benefit ratio in the long run. You know... It's common for 'cheap'... to end up being expensive!

It is important to work guided by a consulting company that knows the environment of accredited certification bodies in the Latin American region, to jointly determine which could be the most appropriate in each case.

But in all cases, we can be sure that the implementation of a Private Security Operations Management System and its certification in accordance with the International Standard ISO 18788, is an excellent investment that will quickly generate important benefits for the company, improving its competitiveness. and its profitability.


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