Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Security for home owners’ associations


By IDME Consulting

As a member of a home owners’ association (HOA) and/or an Estate Manager, it is imperative to know that your Security Manager is of the highest calibre. Estate Managers too often assume the Security Manager is managing the security well and that everything is running smoothly, it is however often found not to be the case. For example, where the Security Managers have been in the position for many years, the estate has grown substantially and the position becomes bigger than their capacity and they have simply not kept up with the times.

At what point would an Estate Manager know if the security is not well managed and if the Security Manager is worth his/her weight in gold? How do you measure that operations are running well, especially if the Estate Manager is not well versed in modern security operations?

From my experience, I will provide some measurements to be used to ensure that operations are taken care of and contingencies are in place. I have found when conducting audits that there are many areas of operational efficiencies that are overlooked, and this normally is only discovered after an incident which could expose the estate to reputational risk and in worst case scenarios incur personal liability.

Below are a few tips that may assist you in a basic assessment of the standard of your security and managers:

#Tip1 Request for Proposal (RFP)

An RFP is a document that requests proposal, which is made through a bidding process, by a company interested in procurement of a service to potential suppliers to submit a business proposals. Care should be taken at the outset when drafting the request for proposal document. Security Managers should apply themselves in order to draft a strategic request for proposal (RFP). The exercise of releasing a tender can be a huge negotiation tool in respect of service standards, upgrades, expectations, specialized training, cost savings and more.

#Tip 2 Service Level Agreements

There is a lack of concise and current Service Level Agreements (SLA). A well drafted SLA should leave no doubt in the service providers mind of what services are expected of them, what the standard of the services to be provided should be and what level of services are required of them.

#Tip 3 Security Post Assessments & Training Plans

Very rarely have I found any sort of metrics on site to constantly assess the security posts on an estate. This needs to be a function of the on-site estate security team and not the service provider. Management should proactively be reassessing staff in order to identify training requirements and a training plan should be implemented to ensure employees keep up with what is required of them.

#Tip 4 Transparent Operational Security Management

Communication is key on any estate. Many a time items relating to security are not communicated through to Estate Managers. I have found the use of an online dashboard to manage this very useful. The tool provides true transparency of most if not all issues relating to security, i.e. real time reporting of faulty equipment, incidents, logging of actions taken or to be executed and inspections carried to mention a few. If you do not have such a tool in place, it is highly recommended that your Security Manager looks into one. In the interim, request daily activity and equipment reports from your Security Managers.

#Tip 5 Root Cause analysis

The day to day running of security operations on an estate is a very busy and sometimes frantic activity, however despite this, experience has taught that security is often dragged into many non-security operational issues on estates. I strongly suggest Estate Managers assess this fully, as it creates a grey area where real security issues could be put on the back foot whilst security is being utilized to sort out some or other maintenance issue. A common finding is that some maintenance issues are dealt with by managers on a crisis management basis, rather than by paying attention to the root cause of the “crisis” and putting corrective action into place.

#Tip 6 Processes and Procedures

There is very surprisingly a severe lack of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on estates. It appears that not all Security Managers have the know-how to draft one, leaving them to rely on the SOP’s provided by the Security Service Provider, which is not in the best interests of the estate.

#Tip 7 Security Meetings & Action Logs

Accountability is key to the security on an estate, many security meetings are impromptu. These need to be minuted, on a monthly basis and an action log needs to be maintained to instill a culture of accountability on the Estate.

HOA Board Members and Estate Managers are not meant to be experts in all areas of operations of an estate, some areas like security have become very specialised, however by ensuring the continued training of the appointed person in this position, will add value to the security of their estate and reduce liability.

IDME Consulting are passionate about estate security and has become an advisory sounding board to numerous Estate Managers with whom we meet on a regular basis to assist inter alia in the strategic planning, operational challenges, training and metrics of their security department. We are here to help.

Michelle Maree

Chief Executive Officer



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This entry was posted on May 29, 2019 by in home owners associations, Legal, management, People, Uncategorized.

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