BT's consulting arm Syntegra has won a £23m, four-year contract to supply the infrastructure for the new Security Industry Authority (SIA), the government agency set up to licence bouncers, wheel clampers and security guards.
The telco will maintain a dedicated call centre, run criminal record checks and dispatch security licences.
The SIA hopes to finish licensing all 500,000 security staff employed in the UK by 2007.
"We have been through a robust tendering process and our decision to award this contract to BT is based on the quality of its proposal and value for money," said John Saunders, chief executive of the SIA.
"The SIA and BT face a tough challenge to implement the practical process of licensing for the private security industry, but I'm confident that we can work together to achieve a seamless operation."
The SIA was set up in April to issue licences to all people working in security.
Applicants must have certification to show training, submit to a criminal record check and pay between £150 and £190 for a three-year licence.
Once the Syntegra system is set up, the SIA will license bouncers and wheel clampers (the main source of public complaints) in 2004, security guards and key holders in 2005 and security consultants and private investigators in 2006.
"It's going to be good to see how this ties in with other security professional schemes," said Neil Barratt, technical director at International Risk Management.
"The current tests for security consultants range from tough exams to a virtual degree course for some skills. Quite how effective a call centre is going to be in checking and issuing licences remains to be seen."
The 10 companies which originally bid for the contract have been whittled down to a shortlist of three.
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