Police reviewing contentious bell-curve grading system for security firms
SINGAPORE — A hotly-debated grading system for the security industry is undergoing a review, but until this is completed, the existing grading system, which includes a bell curve that has been a point of contention among industry players, will remain in place, said the police.
SINGAPORE — A hotly-debated grading system for the security industry is undergoing a review, the police said.
But until this is completed, the existing grading system, which includes a bell curve that has been a point of contention among industry players, will remain in place.
In response to queries from TODAY, a police spokesperson said on Friday (Dec 27) that discussions about the Security Agencies Grading Exercise (SAGE), a system of evaluating security firms, has been ongoing since Aug 1.
The parties involved in the discussions are the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD), the Association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA), Security Association Singapore (SAS), and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
“There was agreement that we would review the existing grading system,” said the spokesperson. “The associations also agreed that we would have to continue with the current bell-curve approach until the new assessment framework is ready.”
The response from the police comes more than a week after industry players voiced their unhappiness over the Government’s latest assessment of security agencies here. The results were released on Dec 16.
The SAS previously told TODAY that the bell-curve system of grading meant that cut-off points for obtaining a certain grade kept changing, and these "shifting goalposts" have given the wrong impression that the firms have not improved.
Industry veterans, some of whom had invested heavily in improving their services, voiced similar concerns, as their shifting grades meant they could lose jobs that required them to maintain a particular grade.
The police spokesperson said on Friday that cut-off points for the grades are adjusted by the PLRD every year to “take into account the improvements in the professionalism and standards of the industry” over time.
This approach, said the spokesperson, has been in place since 2013.
“From 2018, PLRD adopted a progressively transparent approach, by also revealing to the security agencies the raw score they obtained for SAGE.”
Yet, despite the increase in cut-off points for the grades, the spokesperson pointed out that the proportion of A and B grade agencies increased by 1.58 percentage points this year.
This year also saw only three D grades being awarded — the lowest number in the last three years.
The spokesperson added that the “appeal process is fair and transparent to security agencies”.
For the latest assessment, security agencies received their preliminary scores for SAGE in late October. Aside from the score, they were also given a detailed breakdown for each criterion that was used to grade them, and were told if there was any infringement penalty imposed.
Agencies who wanted to appeal against the score were given two weeks to send their representations to PLRD and MOM.
PLRD received 117 representations for the latest round of assessment, said the spokesperson, and that 68 of them had their scores increased after review.
Some security agencies had also complained that they were given penalties in this year’s assessment, even though the infringements they had committed had occurred in previous years. The police spokesperson explained that this was because investigations take time.
“How much time is needed varies from case to case and depends on the complexity of each case,” said the spokesperson. “Once the investigation has concluded and the offence has been made out, the penalties will be imposed within the prevailing SAGE cycle.”
Related topicssecurity agency Singapore Police Force performance grades
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