FAQ
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FAQ

Check out the most frequently asked questions and their answers below.  If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us

BACKGROUND

What is Global Secure Accreditation (GSA)?

Global Secure Accreditation demonstrates that a hotel has been subject of independent assessment by a GSA accredited security expert and found to have met or exceeded the GSA security standards.  No level of security guarantees a hotel will not be targeted, the accreditation provides assurance that the hotel has assessed its risk and put in place credible systems, policies and practices to deter and prevent crime and to respond effectively in the event of a security incident.

Why should I trust GSA?

The GSA standards have been developed by security specialists with decades of experience in dealing with crime, terrorism and other security threats. The standards have been validated by a UK Government (Ofqual) approved standards body and are designed to be compliant with ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management Standards (a standard due in 2020). GSA is subject to oversight by the standards body that is responsible for ensuring the relevance, quality and proper application of these security standards. This is a security standard that can be trusted to signal a hotel is acting responsibly to keep guest safe.

How were the Global Secure Accreditation security standards designed?

GSA engaged extensively with the hotel sector, security leaders and governments to identify good practice. All major security breaches of hotels globally have been assessed for lessons learned. The standards have been designed and tested with experts in the hotel industry before being formally accredited by Ofqual – the UK Government standards body.

If a hotel has 5 stars doesn’t that mean it will have good security?

The star system equates to a range of guest enhancements but not security. Whilst many 5-star hotels will have more security features, some will not. The star rating system does not assess security standards.

Apart from a Global Secure Accreditation, how would I check if a hotel had good security?

There is no other way to reliably rate the quality of hotel security. You can check on-line how good the food is, how polite the staff are, how clean and comfortable the rooms are but not the security. GSA standards provide independent reassurance that a hotel has a high standard of security.

Are your assessors like secret shoppers?

Not quite! All assessors are established security experts with policing, military or specialist security backgrounds. Example profiles of our assessors are below:

 

Standard assessor:

  • 20-30 years of practical experience within either law enforcement or the military, in the arenas of counter terrorism, serious and organised crime, protective security, professional standards and training.
  • Experience of high-level security operations, such as Olympic Games, G8 Summits and state visits.
  • The highest levels of integrity and professionalism, excellent decision making and written and oral communication skills.

 

Specialist Assessors:

  • More than 10 years of practical experience within Special Forces, experience within counter terrorism, counter insurgency and irregular warfare, including protective security in high risk environments.
  • Experience of conducting security operations within high risk countries

 

The highest levels of integrity and professionalism, excellent decision making and written and oral communication skills.

OUR PROCESSES

Who undertakes the inspection for GSA?

Our assessors are all security experts, normally having extensive police or military background. Each has been further training to undertake the assessments and are individually accredited to audit hotels.

 

There is no such thing as a single solution for security, so how does Global Secure Accreditation calibrate risk for each hotel?

 

The starting point for any assessment is the establishment of the risk profile for a hotel. Risk is assessed against national, regional and local risk factors using a ‘likelihood and impact’ risk matrix. In many cases hotels will have conducted their own risk assessments. The risk profile of a hotel allows the GSA assessor to make informed decisions about the level to which the GSA standards need to be satisfied.

Who are SFJ Awards?

SFJ Awards is approved by the Qualifications Regulators to provide qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since May 2012.  SFJ Awards provide an independent quality check at every stage of Assessor training and qualifying including the Assessment process and Report.

What is the role of SFJ Awards?

SFJ provides formal oversight and regulation of the assessment process. Once informed of a GSA recommendation, SFJ accreditation staff will access the GSA platform to view the completed assessment questionnaire and supporting evidence.  If the SFJ Awards accreditor agrees with the GSA assessor’s findings, then the accreditation will be awarded to the hotel. SFJ Awards will issue a letter informing the hotel that they have achieved accreditation and provide the hotel with an accreditation certificate. GSA will then provide the accredited hotel with a full Accreditation Report.

 

If SFJ Awards decides that the GSA standards have not been achieved the SFJ Awards accreditor will identify the areas of deficiency to the GSA assessor. The GSA assessor will agree an action plan with the hotel, to be completed within specific time frames. If the action plan is completed within the timescales, then the hotel will be re-recommended for Accreditation.

What does the Global Secure Prestige Accreditation process involve?

Once the risk profile for the hotel has been established, the allocated GSA assessor arranges to attend the hotel to conduct a full physical inspection of the hotel’s security systems. During the inspection the assessor will access the GSA software platform, which not only enables the assessor to complete the assessment questionnaire and upload documents, but also take photographs or video to support the assessment.

 

Prior to the visit the assessor will provide the hotel with a list of strategic and policy documents to view as part of the assessment. With the permission of the hotel, electronic copies of these documents will be uploaded to the software platform to support the assessment.

 

The assessor will interview members of staff on the day, from various departments within the hotel, such as Food & Beverage, Housekeeping and Engineering, as well the Security Manager and the General Manager. During the inspection the assessors will observe general staff behaviours.

 

After the full physical inspection, the GSA assessor will complete the assessment questionnaire on the software platform, including evidence, such as photographs, documents or staff interviews to support their findings.

If a hotel doesn't meet all of your standards, do they automatically fail?

The assessor may identify minor issues either within the GSA standards or the general security of the hotel. These minor issues will not be of a nature that would prevent the hotel from being recommended for accreditation; these issues will be detailed in an advisory notice.

 

If the hotel has not achieved critical GSA standards then the GSA assessor will agree an action plan with the hotel, to be completed within specific time frames. If the action plan is completed within the timescales to the expected standards, then the hotel will be recommended for accreditation.

BENEFITS

As a hotelier, what are the benefits for having my hotel accredited?

89% of travellers cite security as their highest concern.  Accredited hotels are attractive to visitors, particularly corporate clients that have a duty of care to their staff. The report provided can be used as evidence to Travel Management Companies (TMCs) and corporate customers. Accreditation differentiates a hotel from competitors and can drive increased occupancy rates and reduced insurance premiums. Accreditation can avoid the need for security visits from corporates or TMCs with the accreditation providing evidence of good security.

How do corporates benefit from GSA?

Many businesses seek to validate security levels of hotels they wish to use for employees. Some use questionnaires issued by them or TMCs. This is not as objective or reliable as independent assessment. Some use local security companies to conduct checks. This is costly and can be unreliable in delivering a common standard.

 

Including a credible independent accreditation of security standards in a hotel RFI is low cost, reduces the need for a hotel to host security inspections or complete questionnaires and enables positive security practices to be recognised and rewarded whilst fulfilling the duty of care for the company.

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