As the Royal Terminal prepares to open in June 2014, Procius’ Commercial Director Nick Trollope has some careful advice for companies with staff working airside: “If you haven’t got your flight crew, IT and engineers, baggage handlers, retail and catering staff approved, then now is the time to act. A lot of companies got into difficulties when Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opened in 2008 as their employers had left it too late to get approval with serious and costly consequences,” he cautioned.
“It is also extremely important to select a reputable company who are specialists in the field and 100% in tune with the ever changing requirements in airport security regulations. Each UK international airport has its own variation of these, for example, Heathrow Airport has recently tightened its regulations for existing airside pass holders who change employer, so it is imperative that a background checking company is fully aware of this. We have these details factored into our MyCheck™ system, which enables us to respond immediately to ensure the best possible pass rate in a timely fashion.”
The MyCheck™ system was designed and developed by Procius specifically to process airside passes and typically handles 1000–2000 people being checked at any one time. It manages workflow in terms of timing and priorities and is adjusted to cater for any new regulations.
Managing these regulations is the largest challenge faced by the company. Trollope explains, “The regulations themselves are the result of three regulating bodies layering their own interpretations and extensions on top of each other. At the top, we have the European Commission with their statutes EC300 and EU185. Onto the this, the UK’s Department for Transport have added their Single Consolidated Document (SCD). Finally, each individual airport, operating under the watchful eye of the Department for Transport, has added its own set of local regulations. This results in nearly as many regulation-sets as there are UK airports!”
He continues, “Most change that we see is implemented at local airport level – and in many cases when the goalposts move, employers are expected to adapt immediately. In practice, for an airside applicant who is part-way through their background checks, this could mean that some or all of the checks undertaken are no longer valid and must be re-performed. For large volume recruiters handling thousands of documents at any one time – knowing which checks are no longer valid can be an impossible task. This is one area where Procius is able to add value, since any change in airport regulation is immediately programmed into MyCheck and as a result all checks which are suddenly invalid are immediately flagged for attention, to avoid the critical delays caused by an ID centre rejecting an application on regulatory grounds.
“We would like to gain more clientele in the ground-handling and engineering sectors,” Trollope continues. “To date, the majority of airside applicants that we screen have been flight crew, retail, catering and hospitality staff. But we see a large opportunity for us with the major ground handling and maintenance companies who rely heavily on temporary workers – who in themselves normally have more fragmented backgrounds which are harder for employers to check. In addition, we are keen to branch out to other EU member states whose fundamental regulations are the same as the UK – and who carry very similar threat levels to the UK.”
Procius was set up by Nick Trollope and Julian Parker in 2004 in the wake of 9/11 when the UK Government introduced strict new rules for background checking aviation workers. They were the first company to provide an outsourced solution in airside background checks to take the burden from aviation HR departments. Procius signed its first customer, DHL Aviation in 2004 followed by its first major airline customer, BMI, the same year. Since that time, Procius has achieved considerable growth and longstanding success with a current client portfolio including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Monarch Airlines, Titan, Jet2 and United Airlines’ ground handling.