British Telecom has signed a four-year, £23m deal to build and manage an information system and contact centre for the Security Industry Authority, a new agency set up to oversee bouncers and security guards.
Launched in April, the SIA will award around 500,000 licences over the next three years to a variety of people working in the private security industry, ranging from door supervisors to private investigators.
BT's consulting and systems integration division Syntegra will implement and manage the service for most of the licence application process. This involves collecting the fee, initiating criminal record checks and producing the licence.
However, the final decision on granting licences will lie with the SIA itself.
SIA chief executive John Saunders said, "The SIA and BT face a tough challenge to implement the practical process of licensing for the private security industry, but I'm confident we can work together to achieve a seamless operation."
The overall contract value will depend on the demand for licences but is expected to be in the region of £23m. Although initially signed for four years, there is also an option to extend the deal for another year.
Following a nine-month implementation, the first batch of licences will be issued to door supervisors and wheel clampers early next year. The issuing of licences to other parts of the security industry, such as security guards and private investigators, will follow in 2005 and 2006.
In the future, the SIA's remit is likely to be extended to include Scotland and expanded to cover other security related occupations.