Ensure that national laws permit the procurement of local private security providers.
Ensure the risk assessment includes an analysis of the private security industry, specific companies’ background, national labour laws, private security regulation and history of performance of local private security providers
(see Adequate and appropriate private security arrangements: properly identifying risks and impacts within Private security within risk and impact assessment (Working with Private Security Providers)
- Identify trends in cases of human rights abuses in which local private security providers have been involved. NGOs can be of help in assembling such data.
- Develop a list of all private security providers that are known to have been involved in human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Use this in the evaluation process for the selection of a private security provider and enact automatic exclusion for violators (see Selecting private security providers: assessing quality and cost considerations within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
- Evaluate risks and benefits of contracting a local private security provider or, as an alternative, of hiring local guards as in-house security versus having external providers.
Develop policies, procedures, and guidelines defining the roles and responsibilities of private security providers
(see Compliance with international standards and good practices: developing implementation guidance within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
- Human rights policies should be applicable to all personnel, business partners and other parties directly linked to its operations, products or services. This includes contracted private security providers (see Compliance with international standards and good practices: developing implementation guidance within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers) and Sensitive discussions on security and human rights: addressing issues constructively within Human rights concerns – Working with Host Governments).
- Share the company’s security policies and procedures with relevant stakeholders, such as other companies, public security forces and local communities. Highlight information about local hiring guidelines, rules on the use of force and procedures for requesting police back-up.
- Develop specific policies on high-risk issues such as vulnerable populations, human rights defenders and gender.
- Integrate the Guidelines for Private Security Providers on Preventing and Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (International Code of Conduct Association 2020).
Check if the private security provider is a member (certified or affiliate) of the International Code of Conduct Association. Also check whether the provider has made a commitment to other applicable standards developed by nationally or regionally recognised regulatory authorities, such as the Private Security Regulatory Authority of South Africa, ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012 or relevant ISO standards (e.g. 18788 or 28007).
Consider the different functions required and define the desired profile for each security-related job.
- Take into account factors such as:
Level of education, training and experience required for the job. Consider whether it would be possible to address gaps and help staff reach these desired levels through additional training provided by the company. Private security personnel with a lower level of training can assume basic guard duties, while more extensively trained personnel can be used for other positions.
Skills in local languages.
Knowledge of the local situation.
Relations with the local community, including potential tensions between local communities and guards from different communities, ethnicities, religions, etc.
Risks associated with each activity carried out by security personnel.
Publish a request for proposals (RfP) which includes: a clear description of the mandate and contractor responsibilities; exclusion criteria that automatically disqualify candidates; and award criteria that relate to the company, its personnel and weapons and equipment
(see Selecting private security providers: assessing quality and cost considerations within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
Develop a contract with the private security provider that is based on the request for proposals. The contract should include clear clauses and performance requirements that ensure respect for relevant national law, international humanitarian law and human rights law by the contracted private security provider.
- Discuss these with the private security provider to make sure the security provider understands its performance objectives (see Compliance with international standards and good practices: developing implementation guidance within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
- If the private security provider refuses to include a requirement to comply with a human rights-based code of conduct—such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, the company’s code of conduct for private security providers and/or other relevant standards—do not initiate a relationship or terminate the existing relationship as applicable. If the company is not currently compliant but agrees to take steps to become compliant, consider the following options:
Negotiate a timeline for compliance and support a strategy to become compliant.
Withhold payments as established in the contract until the issue is satisfactorily addressed.
Condition ongoing relationship on performance and provide further, detailed guidance and training, together with regular performance review.
Terminate the relationship with the private security provider.
- Incentivise respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by making the price and duration of contracts attractive. Relevant incentives may include:
Securities or bonds for contractual performance.
Financial rewards or penalties and incentives.
Opportunities to compete for additional contracts.
References provided to other clients.
Conduct a training needs analysis and ensure the required training is provided to private security personnel assigned to the company’s operations
(see Private security personnel lacking adequate training: ensuring application of international norms and standards on human rights and IHL to day-to-day security duties within Training – Working with Private Security Providers).
Ensure training on de-escalation and graduated use of force techniques, as well as on illegal and legal use of force. Mandate training on gender and human rights, especially in relation to how private security personnel interact with community members.
In situations where there is no private security provider that complies with all the desired criteria, consider the following options.
- Assess whether there is any applicant that would be suitable, provided they receive additional training or support to develop relevant policies and processes.
As part of the agreement with the private security provider, agree to a training programme with set timelines and milestones (see Private security personnel lacking adequate training: ensuring application of international norms and standards on human rights and IHL to day-to-day security duties within Training – Working with Private Security Providers). The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Implementation Guidance Tools suggest that in this case, companies should ‘agree to a training programme with the provider together with milestones and timelines’.
Work with other companies to invest in training on human rights and humanitarian law (in situations of armed conflict) for local private security providers.
As applicable, print the key points of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the company’s code of conduct, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers and the rules for the use of force on plasticised ‘smart cards’ issued to all private security personnel. The smart cards should be in the appropriate local language for ready reference and inspection.
Provide support to identify and manage human rights risks.
- In cases where some of the identified gaps cannot be addressed through additional training or support, consider whether the balance of risks versus benefits justifies the contracting of the private security provider that submitted the strongest application. If yes, conduct enhanced due diligence to establish all feasible preventive and mitigation measures to address the identified human rights risks and potential impacts (see Adequate and appropriate private security arrangements: properly identifying risks and impacts within Private security within risk and impact assessment – Working with Private Security Providers).
- In situations where there is no eligible private security provider operating in the area, but it is still desirable to have local guards, consider hiring local in-house security that would only start work after receiving all required training.
- Whenever there are doubts on local providers’ delivery capacity, consider the feasibility of hiring both international and local private security providers for different security functions.
- Consider other non-security jobs that could be offered to local community members.
Meet regularly with the contracted private security provider to address the following issues:
- Implementation of required functions consistent with company policies, contractual requirements, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the company code of conduct, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, and international and national humanitarian and human rights requirements.
- Vetting of personnel to the best of the private security provider’s ability. This should include ongoing efforts to ensure knowledge of capacity and risks associated with hiring personnel from a particular location, service background, community, ethnic background, etc. When feasible, personnel records should be kept on file by the contractor and made available for inspection. Personnel records should be kept safely stored and confidential.
- Training of all employees on all standards specified in the contract (e.g. on the use of equipment) on an ongoing and as-needed basis, as indicated by due diligence and risk assessment activities.
- Provision of relevant equipment (e.g. defensive equipment, personal protective equipment, personal security equipment, appropriate weapons, firearms and ammunition) by the private security provider to its guards, as required by the contract.
- Investigation of all allegations of human rights abuses, as well as of all occasions when private security personnel apprehend or use force against any groups or individuals, in order to ensure this was done in accordance will all relevant standards. All such incidents should be reported to the company security manager and, where appropriate, to the local authorities.
- Review of community and other stakeholders’ complaints in order to identify prevention or mitigation measures. These complaints should be duly handled by the company’s grievance mechanisms.
- Confidentiality of information gathered by the contractor in the course of duties.
Supervise the performance of private security providers through regular monitoring conducted either by the company security department or senior operations management. Complement these with an independent third party such as the International Code of Conduct Association and/or certification bodies
(see Adequate and appropriate private security arrangements: properly identifying risks and impacts within Private security within risk and impact assessment – Working with Private Security Providers).
Include monitoring and inspection in the contract.
- For examples of provisions, check the , section 2.4.
- Use checklists and performance indicators and share these with the private security provider, both at the start of the relationship and on an ongoing basis. Tie these indicators to specific outcomes, such as financial rewards, penalties and/or termination of the contract.
- Identify gaps in service delivery and examine options to fill gaps, including additional training and other support.
- Check all complaints against the private security provider reported through grievance mechanisms and other sources. Record all allegations of human rights abuses by private security.
- Ensure that such monitoring encompasses not only investigations, but also follow-up actions. This includes disciplinary measures that are sufficient to prevent and deter violations, as well as procedures for disclosing allegations to relevant law enforcement authorities.