FAQs

Questions about GSA? Look no further! We have compiled the most frequently asked questions and their answers below.

If you have a question which is not answered here, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist.

BAckground

The Global Secure accreditation signals that a hotel takes guest security very seriously and has been subject of independent assessment by Global Secure accredited security experts and found to have met or exceeded the Global Secure security standards. Whilst there is no level of security that can guarantee 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.

The GSA Accreditation 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 due in 2020. GSA Ltd is subject to oversight by the standards body who are 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.

Staff and leaders of GSA have significant security expertise. GSA engaged extensively with the hotel sector, security leaders and governments identifying good practice which currently exists globally. All major security breaches of hotels globally were assessed for lessons learned. The information was analysed and the standards designed and tested with experts in the hotel industry before being submitted for formal accreditation by a UK Government ‘Ofqual’ the standards and awarding body which serves the police, justice, military and security sectors.

No it does not. The star system equates to a range of guest enhancements but not security. Whilst many 5-star hotels will have more security infrastructure and some will have excellent security, some will not. The star rating system does not assess security standards.

There is currently no way to remotely and reliably ascertain the quality of hotel security which is why we developed the GSA standards. You can check ‘on-line’ how good the food is, how polite the staff are, how clean comfortable the rooms are etc. but not the security. GSA standards provide independent reassurance that the hotel has good security.

Not quite! GSA employ two levels of assessor, standard and specialist, standard assessors and specialist assessors who operate in HoETR countries. All assessors are established security experts with policing, military or specialist security backgrounds. Example profiles of our assesors can be seen below:

  • Standard Assessor – 20-30 years of practical experience within either UK law enforcement or the UK 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 the London 2012 Olympic Games, G8 Summits and state visits. The highest levels of integrity and professionalism, excellent decision making and written and oral communication skills.

  • Specialist Assessor – More than 10 years of practical experience within UK Special Forces, experience within counter terrorism, counter insurgency and irregular warfare, including protective security in high risk environments. Experience of conducting security operations within HoETR countries. The highest levels of integrity and professionalism, excellent decision making and written and oral communication skills.

OUR processes

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.

No, which is why GSA have developed the standard. ISO is developing an international standard for travel security management (ISO 31030) which will encourage travel managers to make greater efforts to ensure security standards are acceptable , ISO 30031 is likely to be published next year.

Yes, GSA also review all major safety elements, including current fire safety certification, food hygiene, health and safety compliance along with first aid response.

The start point for any assessment and accreditation is the establishment of the risk profile for the hotel. Risk is assessed against national, regional and local risk factors using a ‘Likelihood and Impact’ risk matrix. In many cases the hotels will have conducted their own risk assessments, and these are considered during the Global Secure Accreditation risk profiling process. The risk profile of the hotel allows the Global Secure Accreditation assessor to conduct the assessment and make informed decisions about the level to which the Global Secure Accreditation standards need to be satisfied.

 SFJ Awards is approved by the Qualifications Regulators to provide qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since May 2012. 

SFJ Awards are part of the Workforce Development Trust, incorporating SFJ Awards, Skills for Health, Skills for Justice, National Skills Academy for Health and People 1st.

SFJ Awards provide independence from the process and security skill set but provide a quality check at every stage of Assessor attributes, training, and qualifying including the Assessment process and Report. 

SFJ provide formal oversight and regulation of the assessment process. Once informed of a Global Secure Accreditation recommendation by GSA, SFJ accreditation staff will access the GSA secure on-line platform to view the completed assessment questionnaire and supporting evidence to assess the findings provided by the GSA assessor.

If the SFJ Awards accreditor agrees with the GSA assessor’s findings, then Global Secure 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 Global Secure Accreditation standards have not been achieved by a hotel then the SFJ Awards accreditor will identify the areas of deficiency to the relevant GSA assessor. The GSA assessor will agree an action plan with the hotel covering the SFJ Awards identified areas of deficiency, 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 re-recommended for Global Secure Accreditation.

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 utilise the GSA software platform via a tablet, which not only enables the assessor to complete the assessment questionnaire and upload documents, but also allows the assessor to 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 that the assessor would seek to view as part of the assessment. With the permission of the hotel, electronic copies of these documents will be securely uploaded to the software platform to support the assessment.

 

Again, prior to the visit, the assessor will arrange to interview members of staff on the day of the assessment, from various departments within the hotel, such as Food & Beverage, Housekeeping and Engineering, as well the Security Manager and, if available, the General Manager. During the physical inspection of the hotel the assessors will also observe general staff behaviours in the different areas of the hotel they inspect.

 

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.

During the review of the assessment process, the assessor may identify minor issues either within the Global Secure Accreditation 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 Global Secure Accreditation; these issues will be detailed in an advisory notice for the hotel’s consideration to continuously improve the overall security.

If the hotel has not achieved critical Global Secure Accreditation 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 Global Secure Accreditation.

membership

Accreditation provides hotel management with independent internal assurance that the measures in place are appropriate to the level of risk. The accreditation report will validate why the standards has been met or exceeded and, where appropriate, offer recommendations as to how it could be further improved. Travellers are increasingly stating that security is their highest concern so accredited hotels will be more attractive to visitors and particularly to corporate clients who have a duty of care to their staff. The report provided will be of interest to TMCs and Corporate customers for this reason. The accreditation will differentiate your hotel from competitors with strong potential for increased occupancy rates and the prospect of reduced insurance premiums. Hotels are regularly visited for security checks by corporate clients, or have to complete questionnaires justifying the level of security. GS Accreditation can avoid the need to for these visits with the accreditation providing expert evidence of good security.

Many corporations and businesses seek to validate security levels of hotels they wish to procure for use of their staff. Some use questionnaires issued by them or Travel Management Companies (TMCs). However, a system or ‘self-certification’ by hotels is not as objective or reliable as independent assessment. Some use local security companies to conduct checks or surveys. There is a cost to this and the lack of common standards can undermine. Potential local relationships can risk undermining the independence of the audit. Some corporates have in house teams who visit hotels. This places a great demand on the company, is costly and frequently demands outstretch resources. Placing a security requirement in the procurement process for the hotel to demonstrate a credible independent accreditation or other formal validation of its security standards is of no cost to the company, reduces the requirement for the hotel to host security inspections or complete questionnaires and enables  good security to be recognised and rewarded whilst fulfilling the duty of care for the company.