Compliance, Competence & Accountability are the founding principles of Barringtons. Our extensive experience and understanding of the investigation and litigation market ensure we deliver to our clients a services of the highest ethical standard.
The Directors of Barringtons are affiliated to:
For over 70 years professional investigators, through their membership of The Association of British Investigators (ABI), have lobbied parliamentarians to bring about the licensing of investigations - warning of the criminality widely practiced by the few opportunistic elements masquerading as “Private Investigators”.
Investigation in the private sector in the UK has only ever been regulated on a voluntary basis by a practitioner’s affiliation to a professional body that adheres to a strictly enforced Code of Ethics supported by a robust discipline process. Hitherto only the ABI has demonstrated the high standard recognised as mitigating the reputation risk that could be involved when the need to commission an investigation or litigation support work arises. It is for this reason that the ABI exclusively commands the respect of The Law Societies of England & Wales and Scotland along with numerous government departments and law enforcement agencies.
Recent historical events such as the government sponsored Inquiries, chaired by Lord Justice Sir Brian Leveson and the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC), chaired by the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, have exposed the very threats to society at the root of the ABI campaign for statutory regulation.
In 2001 parliament passed The Private Security Industry Act. Private investigation was defined and included to be licensed but a lack of political will delayed the implementation until finally public outrage at the media’s phone hacking debacle and in particular the Milly Dowler case, led to the Inquiries and ultimately The Home Secretary’s announcement on 31st July 2013 that the government will in the Autumn 2014 roll out licenses for private investigation. One year later it became clear that the roll out date would not be achieved.
The Command Paper published by The Home Office that day addressed the recommendations issued by the HASC the previous year, in brief that licensing be introduced with a test of criminality and competency on the individual practitioner. However, one key recommendation could not be implemented without primary legislation; following the ABI example, the Security Industry Authority is committed to introduce Business Licensing. The criteria will bind an agency to a Code of Conduct and other good practice processes.
British Standards Institution Code of Practice (BS102000)
Following the HASC recommendations The British Standards Institution set up a panel of stakeholders and industry representatives to
write the Code of Practice published in September 2013, BS102000.
A commitment to ethical practice is a vital requirement if licensing is to have any meaningful effect. Indeed, it was recognised by the HASC that a test of competence is not a test of conscience.
A glance at BS102000 readily reveals that the business, certified by an accredited Auditor, is being tested as to its ethical and compliant practices. An investigation agency is simply unable to provably demonstrate on-going compliance unless it is independently certified annually to follow the strict regime set out in this British Standard.
BS102000 sets out the various areas of work ordinarily covered by a professional investigator for the commercial, domestic and professional markets. One key source of engagement is in litigation support, including Process Serving, for the legal profession. The British Standards Institution panel noted the lack of due diligence, indeed even reasonable care, taken by some lawyers when appointing service providers, an oversight that runs great reputational risk in parting with confidential instructions and papers in often highly sensitive cases.
Users of investigation services, including professional firms, when commissioning investigations should undertake reasonable due diligence on the proposed service provider, which is available in the verifiable meaningful certification by an independent accredited Auditor. Barringtons is certified to meet the BS102000 Standard by SSAIB - http://ssaib.org (accredited by the Security Industry Authority and UKAS).
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Compliance Competence Accountability
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