Our CEO Dave Potts, outlines the first thing he looks for on every new contract.
Compiling our year end accounts, I was asked by our Finance Officer why we had spent so much with one particular supplier. ‘Office chairs’… she looked absolutely nonplussed, as she knew that our own offices were nothing grand – ’24-hour operators chairs for the staff’.’ I went on to explain my rationale:
Chairs to me are an absolute barometer of where a security site is up to. When I go to the site as a prospective tenderer or for a first site visit I look at the chairs that the officers use in the gatehouse. They give me an indication of how the incumbent provider treats their staff and where that relationship with the client is likely to be. I have seen chairs completely not fit for purpose, repaired with gaffer tape and blocks of wood for castors and downright dangerous. Chairs were if you lean back you are likely to topple over and chairs missing arms and back rests. I even saw a site where the officer explained to me that he had brought in the chairs from his own home– one was a white leather swivel chair from the 1970s.
Working in a 24-hour gatehouse is a sedentary occupation by any stretch of the imagination, and I am first to admit that security officers like police officers (when I was in the job), have a way of damaging kit and equipment that is sometimes difficult to fathom. For the most though, they do extremely long and hard hours and need to be looked after. When I see chairs being used not fit for purpose it shows to me that no one cares. If they don’t care for basic HSE requirements they don’t care about the assignment and they don’t care about quality. If I say so myself, I am right 100% of the time.
So – on each new site that GSTS take over, our mobilisation plan includes that on the first day of the assignment a delivery van pulls up at the gatehouse with two (last one was three) brand new 24-hour operators chairs. Our incoming officers are always delighted and it sends out a message that we care for their well-being and appreciate what they do for us and the client. There is a new Sheriff in town as we often joke, and that Sheriff really cares.
Despite my Finance Officers fiscal caution, I am going to continue to keep on doing this – our office supplier I am sure will have no complaints.