Client trust levels super high thanks to enhanced DBS checks and police vetting

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has been working with Leicestershire Police for the past four years – looking after more than 20 of its buildings scattered across the county, including its HQ at Enderby.

But such a project requires far more than the technical ability to assess the force’s needs and supply and service its fire safety equipment. It also requires a high level of absolute trust in the integrity of the staff carrying out the work.

Which is why every member of the CDS team involved in the contract has not only been DBS checked to an enhanced level, but has also been through a stringent police vetting process.

The procedure is obligatory for all police officers and for the constabulary’s outsourced service providers.

This not only means the force can be confident that those entering their premises are squeaky clean, it also means CDS customers from other industry areas, such as healthcare and education, can be confident that the people with whom they come into contact are honest and trustworthy.

Martin Iliffe, a director of CDS and co-founder of the company 33 years ago, says trust is paramount when it comes to dealing with all its clients, with sectors such as policing having even greater sensitivities to manage.

“As a service provider to Leicestershire Police Authority, our engineers are required to work in a variety of different police premises that might including sensitive locations such as custody suites where people may be experiencing difficult, challenging situations. It is essential that our personnel respect and observe the highest levels of confidentiality in the course of their work,” he said.

A Leicestershire Police representative said: “As a police force, the public expects to have absolute trust in what we do and how we carry it out. We also want to reassure the people of Leicestershire that all our service providers are equally trustworthy. We have forged a strong relationship with CDS and value the service that they provide for us – not only in making sure our staff, public and premises are safe in terms of fire prevention and detection, but in ensuring that confidentiality is maintained at all times.”

CDS managing director Simon Abley added: “The stringent police vetting process requires all CDS engineers to submit details about their homes, family and lifestyle. Anyone failing to attain the highest level of integrity would not be considered for a position in our service team.”

In addition, every single staff member is DBS checked to an enhanced level – a requirement for anyone working with potentially vulnerable people or children. With much of the firm’s work in hospitals, clinics, care homes, nurseries, schools and universities, approval is essential.

The Leicestershire Police contract, the latest in a number CDS has carried out for the force over the past two decades, saw the team supply and install Honeywell Gent fire alarm and detection systems in all its premises. This includes a networked system at HQ’s ten separate buildings which enables reception staff to see what’s going on anywhere on site from a fire safety viewpoint without leaving their desk. The CDS team provides ongoing service, maintenance and training.

CDS plans hybrid and all-electric vehicle fleet as part of broader green initiative

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS is aiming to embrace electric and hybrid technology for its entire fleet of staff cars over the next three years.

Just over 20 per cent of the vehicles driven by its engineers are currently hybrid, but as fleet contracts become eligible for renewal the cars will be replaced with either electric or plug in hybrid alternatives wherever possible.

The move fits in with the firm’s overall aim to become greener in all areas of its business and it is working with customers and suppliers to ensure all the equipment parts it supplies and maintains are replaced or recycled wherever possible.

New CDS MD Simon Abley is pioneering the initiative, in partnership with director Martin Iliffe and service manager Keith Helstrip.

Simon explained: “We are aiming to make changes to our working practices which will be as beneficial as possible to the environment, while ensuring we maintain the high standards of service our customers have come to expect over the past 30 plus years.  With transport generating around 30 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions, this is just one area we thought would be worth looking at, with further initiatives to follow.”

Models likely to be on the CDS greener shopping list include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the world’s first a plug-in hybrid SUV. It can manage 28 miles on its electric capacity before the traditional engine kicks in.

Another hybrid plug-in from the BMWX5 range is an alternative option. It can manage 54 miles on its electric-only element.

And for electric car purists the BMW i3 can run for up to 188 miles before needing to be recharged. Added to that, BMW boasts other green credentials including using recycled plastic bottles in parts of the seats and doors and the fact that it is manufactured at a car plant powered entirely by the wind!

CDS directors welcome new MD and chairman with plans to develop the business

CDS is looking forward to an even more successful future – thanks to further investment and a new chairman and MD at the helm.

Co-founders Martin Iliffe and Tony Mikunda are remaining firmly on the board as shareholding directors, alongside the firm’s existing, highly qualified team of engineers and sales people.

So, while all the expertise and passion for fire detection and life safety, and the pedigree the company has built up over 33 years, remain the same, it will be able to offer its services to more organisations over the coming months and years.

CDS has an impressive track record in the education, healthcare, logistics, leisure, airport, industrial property and housing sectors – all areas it is planning to expand.

Investors and new MD Simon Abley and chairman Simon Cashmore were the movers and shakers behind outdoor services specialist TCL Group, growing the business 14-fold over 12 years before selling it in 2019.

Its expansion was achieved through strategic acquisition of complementary companies with the aim of broadening both its geographical reach and service offerings. It was named one of the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe in 2017 by the London Stock Exchange.

New MD Simon Abley explained: “This is an exciting time for CDS and I look forward to working with the team to continue to build the business, both organically and by further acquisitions over the years to come. The fire detection and life safety systems market, indeed the compliance service sector generally, is deeply fragmented and we anticipate will provide a strong ‘buy and build’ opportunity for CDS.”