Following my experience on the evening of the council meeting on the 1st March I immediately submitted some FOI questions regarding MetPro. Yesterday, and overdue, I received responses from Barnet. Yes, there were 7 MetPro staff present and they charged £411 plus VAT for that evening.
No real answer as to why they were needed in addition to all the police officers present.
"The Council has for some time had security arrangements in place at Hendon Town Hall. The numbers of officers on duty at any given time is assessed according to requirements".
However on the matter of how many of the security guards were SIA Licensed the Council's response is interesting. They state,
"We were assured by the company that all staff are SIA licensed".
I asked this question for a very specific reason. My understanding of the SIA conditions of licence is that SIA licensed staff MUST "wear the licence where it can be seen at all times when engaging in designated licenseable activity".
If you look on the SIA website, all pictures of security staff show them with their licence on display. If this condition is not met the licence can be revoked or suspended. Although the council say they were "assured that all staff are SIA Licensed" did they have any proof and did anyone from the council check? Given that MetPro were not a member of the SIA Approved Contractor Scheme perhaps someone should have checked that:
a) Staff were SIA Licensed and that
b) MetPro were conforming to SIA regulations.
This is an exceptionally serious matter and receiving an "assurance" seems less than adequate from a risk management perspective.
If the council failed to check on this matter it doesn't bode well when they start contracting out the Development and Regulatory Services, a number of which are governed by specific legislation.
Overall a very bad business.