While offices and second homes laid empty during lockdown, the need to keep buildings like these secure was greater than ever.
Cotswold Security Group managing director, Kay Clifton, has been busier than ever, but made time to talk to SoGlos about how business is evolving post-pandemic – and how Cotswold Security Group’s services can benefit the owners of all kinds of properties, not to mention their pets!
About the expert – Kay Clifton, managing director at Cotswold Security Group
Kay began her career in security industry back in 2010, but always knew she wanted to work for herself eventually. Thanks to a business management degree and being spurred on by those she used to work with, Kay finally took the plunge in 2017.
Her company, Cotswold Security Group, provides security for commercial and residential sites, priding itself on responding quicker than national companies, offering services including keyholding, property checks, mobile patrols and static guards.
What sort of people use Cotswold Security Group’s services?
We deal with main residences; second homes; holiday homes; high value clients and properties; business premises; void properties and more. Our services are flexible and tailored to the needs of our clients, rather than ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Do you have any well-known people, or well-known buildings, on your books locally?
We provide security services to many well-known people and buildings in and around Gloucestershire, but due to confidentiality are unable to name names!
We recently won a large tender for Gloucestershire County Council, which has given us a huge representation in the area, as well as providing more jobs and adding more guards to our team.
Did the pandemic have any unexpected benefits for your business?
We actually saw an increase in our core service areas, including keyholding, alarm response, mobile patrols and void property checks.
Many commercial buildings needed extra patrols or internal checks, due to not having staff in.
Our residential sites also picked up due to second homes being empty, as well as the housing market booming and clients moving to the area from London needing the peace of mind our services can give them.
Thankfully, the majority of our guards work on their own, either on sites or in vehicles, so were not at such high risk of catching Covid-19.
How does your business make use of the latest technology?
We embrace the latest technology to support our clients’ experience, staff productivity and safety.
We were the first company in the UK to use what is now globally recognised ‘guard tour’ software, providing proof of attendance to clients and ensuring staff safety with a monitored SOS button and GPS tracking.
We have also moved our client information to a bespoke secure online database combined with electronic forms, which gives our staff information instantly – and helps with our environmental impact too.
What sort of thing is covered by the ‘professional neighbours’ service you offer?
Our ‘professional neighbours’ service is a spin-off of our keyholding and alarm response service.
Many clients use us to check on their property when they are away. They also like the fact they can call on us at any time to let in an engineer, housekeeper or contractor.
We are even down as emergency contacts for some of our clients’ pets, if something was to happen to them!
We hold keys to properties and take down detailed information, so are able to do anything our clients need us to do.
What’s the vetting procedure like for employees?
All our staff are screened and vetted to British Standards BS7858. This involves screening five years of an employee’s work history, making sure any gaps are accounted for.
A credit check is also performed, as well as a right to work check and a check on the Global Watchlist, which cross references the individual’s name(s) against various sanctions, watchlists and fraud databases.
Our response guards are all Security Cleared too, with all staff going through a rigorous training regime using a buddy system before they are entrusted with any keys.