Corporate Reputation Protection In a Complex Operating Environment & The ISO18788 SOMS Certification

23. August 2019 Uncategorized 0
Corporate Reputation Protection In a Complex Operating Environment & The ISO18788 SOMS Certification

“In December 2000, a group of six extractive companies, seven non-governmental organizations, and representatives of the U.S. and U.K. governments (Department of State and Foreign Office respectively) announced agreement on a set of voluntary principles (the VPSHR) to assist oil, gas and mining companies in providing the necessary security for their operations consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights’’ see the website maintained by the Secretariat of the VPSHR at

The principles are in three categories covering:

  1. Risk assessment,
  2. Relations between extractive companies and public security, i.e. police, military, etc.,
  3. Relations with private security contractors hired by companies to protect their facilities and operations.

“In September 15, 2015 fifteen years after the establishment of the VPSHR, the International Organization for standardization published the ISO 18788 Security operations management system for private security operations the standard provides a Management System framework for Private Security Operations through elaborating on the principles and requirements for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving the management of safety operations’’. ISO – International Organization of Standards website/Wikipedia.

ISO 18788:2015 offers a framework for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving the management of security operations.

ISO 18788:2015 sets a worldwide business and risk management framework for security contractors or organizations to operate professionally, efficiently, and safely.

“What does the introduction of ISO 18788 (Management system for private security operations) mean for those ‘conducting’ or ‘contracting’ security operations?”

Benefits of ISO 18788 certification to your organization:

  1. Imposes credibility and helps protect your reputation
  2. Boosts the probability of operational success
  3. Provides assurance for customers, governments and communities
  4. Demonstrates accountability to law and respect for human rights
  5. Increases organizational productivity with the best practice “Plan, Do, Check, Act” approach
  6. Presents consistent and comprehensive means of demonstrating effective corporate governance from board level to physical delivery

Can the implementation of ISO 18788 guarantee reputation protection in a complex & emergent environment?

Benefits of ISO 18788 to your customers:

  1. Helps your customers protect their reputation
  2. Provides commitment to security operations best practices
  3. Demonstrates compliance with legal obligations and relevant principles
  4. Provides adherence to human rights and fundamental freedoms

Conclusion: This standard builds on several previous works that have emerged to govern private security provision and guarantees responsible security operations in complex environments, including: International Code of Conduct (ICoC) for Private Security Service Providers (it is an auditable international management system standard), the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. ISO 18788 certification demonstrates that choice to put respect for human rights at the center of its risk management framework.

The implementation of ISO 18788 provides a business and risk management framework for the effective conduct of security operations. It places a strong importance in identifying your stakeholders, including employees, customers, local communities and subcontractors. Moreover, this standard provides assurance in the quality and expertise of security organizations working in complex and fragile environments. While the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), a mainstay of the extractive industry, recognizes the need for private security to observe, amongst other aspects, emerging best practices developed by industry.  The introduction of ISO 18788 sets that benchmark.

I will conclude with the thoughts of Tony Chattin, MD, MSS global that says ‘Now that best practice has been codified internationally through the release of ISO 18788, and governments and some commercial companies are recognizing it, does the failure to require certification to ISO 18788 as part of any due diligence, process risk undermining the credibility of company ethical commitments, and more importantly, risk the company’s reputation and commercial viability should something go awry and they have consciously ignored accepted ‘best practice’?’.


 Abraham C. Okpom,

Certified Member Institute of Strategic Risk Management, PECB Certified ISO18788 SOMS Lead Auditor & a Security Risk Assessment Expert)

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