UCL News


Update on security consultation process

13 July 2023

An update from Ian Dancy, UCL’s Executive Director of Operations, with the latest news on UCL’s security consultation process and details of drop-in sessions for staff.

UCL Portico

Dear colleagues,  

Security services are a vital part of the UCL operation. Our security providers, Bidvest Noonan, are in consultation with colleagues regarding proposed changes to our security services. We wanted to share a further update on how this consultation has been progressing and to provide some clarity around some of the claims that you may have seen being made. 

Bidvest Noonan and UNISON, our recognised trade union, have published a joint statement today updating on the positive progress that has been made as part of this consultation process:

Bidvest Noonan has had extensive engagement with UNISON and has reviewed all areas of the proposal, with a number of revisions made as a result of their conversations. The joint statement provides an update on the mitigations that have been put in place to help prevent any compulsory redundancies. Bidvest Noonan have now identified opportunities for all remaining colleagues to stay working at UCL and will be discussing this further with colleagues when the Collective Consultation ends tomorrow, Friday 14 July.  

The ongoing consultation has generated discussion and engagement across UCL, with a range of views being shared. As part of this process, we have strongly encouraged input and counterproposals.  

Further information is being regularly updated in a set of FAQs which you can read here. This includes confirmation that there is no ‘fire and rehire’ process being undertaken, and more information about the continued support that buildings will receive in terms of security, building management and health & safety. 

More information on mitigating redundancies 

While there will be fewer roles in the proposed new structure, Bidvest Noonan has been doing, and will continue to do, everything they can to support colleagues through the consultation process and to mitigate any compulsory redundancies.   

As a result, Bidvest Noonan have now been able to identify opportunities for all colleagues to remain working at UCL, which they will begin consulting with individuals about from tomorrow. This means that the risk of any compulsory redundancy has been significantly reduced.  

These mitigations included: 

  • A hiring freeze over recent months meaning that there were a number of vacancies already within the existing structure. 
  • Offers of redeployment to similar roles at Bidvest Noonan for staff that may leave their UCL-based roles – these staff would also receive a £4,000 financial incentive. Bidvest currently have 180 vacancies within London and 450 nationally. 
  • Bidvest Noonan also opened a financially enhanced voluntary resignation scheme, which many staff took up.

Bidvest Noonan’s consultation with security colleagues

Bidvest Noonan has had extensive engagement with UNISON as part of the recognised trade union agreement in place. Several revisions focused on minimising the impact on colleagues have been adopted in response to conversations and feedback.  

Bidvest Noonan also agreed to the UNISON request for an extension to the Collective Consultation process, which was originally due to conclude on 5 July 2023. The Collective Consultation will now conclude tomorrow on 14 July 2023. This extension has been made possible by the constructive dialogue which has taken place between UNISON and Bidvest Noonan. This dialogue was highlighted in a recent joint statement from UNISON and Bidvest Noonan. That statement also specifically confirms that this is not a “fire and rehire” process, but is in fact following a standard consultation process. 

As detailed above, UNISON and Bidvest Noonan also published a second joint statement today updating on the positive progress being made to mitigate any compulsory redundancies. 

Bidvest Noonan has also been in contact with other Trade Unions to engage in informal dialogue and encourage counterproposals from them too.

Engagement with our UCL community  

We have had numerous conversations with members of our UCL community regarding these proposals which have informed their development, and we thank you all for your valuable input.  

We understand the impact that some of the changes will have on particular sites, and we have heard from you about the key role that a Security Officer plays at the reception of a range of buildings. We also recognise the role that many officers play in supporting wider building management and health & safety. 

As we are proposing to move more officers from static positions to a more mobile service, we will be able to support more buildings with a quicker response and with more staff available to respond. Mobile Security staff are trained in both First Aid and Seek and Search procedures and will always be dispatched to First Aid and Fire incidents. 

The Campus Experience Team can also support departments that have a reduced number of Fire Marshalls as a result of hybrid working, however it is important to note that Heads of Department or designated senior managers are responsible for ensuring an adequate cover of Fire Evacuation Marshals (FEM) in their buildings.  

We continue to hold discussions with teams across UCL to provide further background to the proposals and the opportunity to raise questions.  

As part of this, we are arranging additional daily drop-in sessions with UCL’s Transformation Security Lead, Oliver Curran.  

There are more slots available on Friday 14 July between 11am and 1pm and from Monday 17 to Friday 21 July between 10am to 12 noon. Please contact securitysystems@ucl.ac.uk if you would like to book a 30-minute slot. 

We are listening to all the feedback we receive, and we will continue to monitor and respond through the securitysystems@ucl.ac.uk inbox and regularly update the FAQs with any new themes.  

We want to thank everyone who has engaged in the process so far, and we will continue to keep you updated.  

Best wishes,  

Ian Dancy 
Executive Director of Operations, UCL