Security personnel; access and egress control; messengers
Associated Newspapers is one of the UK’s largest publishers of national newspapers and consumer websites. Home to Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, two of the most influential paid for newspapers, security at its central London location is paramount. With approximately 1,600 employees working in the 24-hour building the client was looking for a reliable provider with a personal approach.
The security need
Often newspapers are targeted by demonstrations and objectors who can attempt to storm the building. Individuals may feel aggrieved by a published story and with journalists, visitors and employees coming and going several times a day, a robust access control process is critical. Associated Newspapers also has several contractors that require access to the building and escorting whilst on site.
There are two entrances to the building; the one at the rear is where all the postal and courier deliveries arrive and are x-rayed ready for distribution.
How did Mitie help?
On being awarded the contract in 2002 our management team set about forging close working relationships with the security manager at Associated News. A shared belief in open communication was the foundation for the successful working partnership and weekly meetings were set-up. We implemented different roles within the team to manage the security of the building for the client and its tenant - The Independent. The three roles are screeners, guards and messengers, plus a site manager, and they are identified by the different style of uniform they wear. The team works to a rolling roster so are skilled in the other roles and duties covered on both day and night shifts.
The screeners are highly skilled in access control processes and monitor the access and egress of all employees and visitors.
Installed in the building at both entrances are security arches which are the same as those used in airports. The screeners are trained to spot any signs of risk. They work closely with the reception teams in ensuring that all visitors are vetted before admission is granted.
The guards work closely with the deliveries receptionists to scan all items before they can be distributed around the building. They also supervise all contractors on site and escort them as they conduct their duties. During the night time hours the guards cover the receptions and take in the deliveries of the first editions of other national newspapers. They are also responsible for controlling access to the on-site car park ensuring it is used only by Associated News employees. VIP visitors are frequent at the site and the site supervisor is responsible for escorting these visitors to see the Chairman.
The messengers distribute the post and deliveries throughout the building whilst patrolling, each taking responsibility for their own floors. They get to know everyone on their rounds and this familiarity helps them to identify anything unusual.
The team are always happy to do additional shifts and self-cover any absence so that relief officers are not needed. Because of the rolling roster system they are happy to provide extra cover when required either for demonstrations or events held within the building. The team has also been known to cover social events for the employees held at other locations.
We work with the client in partnership. The client is happy and the team is motivated and rewarded. The staff turnover within the team is extremely low and the client rewards long service. In fact, Associated News has just awarded the first 15 years’ service award to a member of our security team. The team is steady and reliable which means the client has continuity. The team know employees by name and know exactly who to go to in any event.
The team members say that they feel part of the client’s team and they are so well thought of that they are given gifts by the staff at Christmas and enjoy the perks of using the on-site gym.
The contract is reviewed by our management team and the client every two years. Any opportunities for working smarter are identified and implemented so that how we do things continues to evolve with the client’s needs.