Following extensive lobbing by Electrical Contractors and their Trade Associations the Private Security Authority (PSA) has been forced to introduce legislation which would reduce the sectorial fee for contractors with a turnover of less than €300,000 by €1000. This has been confirmed in a letter from the European Commission to Marian Harkin MEP. The fee which previously was €1250 will now be €250. The administration fee will remain unchanged at €1000. There is also a fee of approx €1000 which must be paid to one of the approved auditing bodies. The changes will reduce the total cost of obtaining the PSA licence from €3250 to€2250. This fee will be due every two years.

AECI are of the opinion that while the fee reduction is welcome, the cost of the licence remains excessive for the small contractor. AECI will continue to demand that there should be no extra cost to electrical contractors to continue to carry out works which they have always done. The PSA has issued on request a free licence to contractors who were previously licensed to install and maintain Intruder Alarm and AECI demand that Registered Electrical Contractors (REC) should be issued the same free licence. It is clear that the PSA have ignored the legitimate concerns highlighted by Electrical Contractors and have only acted under pressure from the European Commission.

This follows on from the fact that the PSA introduced the new licensing requirements without consultation with the Electrical Contracting Industry. Requests from Electrical Contractor representatives’ groups for further meetings with the PSA have as yet, not led to a commitment from the PSA to meet representatives. Electrical Contractors also remain unsure as to the scope of works which will require the new licence. For example despite asking the PSA in writing if Hotel Key-card access control systems require the new licence we have received no clarification from the PSA on this issue.

Modifications to the legalisation which set up the PSA i.e. Private Security Services Act 2004 are now necessary to allow the proposed fee reduction to be introduced. AECI are unsure how long it will take to introduce this amended legalisation but are aware that changes to legalisation normally take a considerable period of time to take effect. We would also suggest that it will be difficult for the PSA to prosecute any contractor while we are awaiting new legalisation to reduce licensing fees. AECI will continue attempts to obtain clarification from the PSA on all aspects of the new liciencing proposels. We will watch developments with interest

Click on the link for letter from the European Commission: