Well what an interesting and hectic day I've had. Long conversations with creditors, liquidators and of all people - Investigators from the Office of Fair Trade ('OFT').
Had a call this morning from good friend Paul advising that my old friend Gordon from the office of fair trade is looking for me in order to move forward with a prosecution against me. Apparently the OFT wants to issue a fine of $2,500.00 for failing to hand in a cancelled Security Firm Licence.
I contacted Gordon as requested and confirmed that Paul had been threatened with a subpoena for my details which he had withheld. As the owner of a security firm, Paul has an obligation to maintain client confidentiality so he was being placed in a difficult position unnecessarily since the OFT had my new details anyway. I have received Security Licence renewal forms and business trading name renewal forms so I was a bit perplexed and offered all my details for Gordon to put on the licensing division's records.
The Security Firm Licence was in the name of a company which ceased trading at the end of the last financial year and placed in the hands of liquidators a couple of months ago.
A requirement under law in Australia is that any security provider earning revenue from a security service must hold a licence for that particular service (there are several categories under each of two classes) to ensure maximum revenue for the OFT and any firm paying someone to provide one or more of these licensed services must hold a security firm licence for that particular category and class also. There are of course exceptions and exemptions - all government employees. Additional requirements under legislation are that each individual licence holder have their finger prints taken and processed which they will pay for and a police background scan which they will pay for also - for each category at the time of application (they will later be reimbursed for each additional category's police check). Each individual must belong to an approved security association prior to application, membership is at the discretion of the association as are their membership fees. The same applies to the Security Firm Licence - except that the fees are much, MUCH higher - of course.
Don't you just love how the OFT gives carte blanch discretion to associations to discriminate however they choose either by criteria or fees to keep the old boy's club healthy - Don't you just wish everything was this fair and equitable. It gets better - the association have the added responsibility of policing the industry, handy if new blood were to slip past the old school tie selectors.
Now that you have a bit of a working knowledge of our ultra FAIR system (stop laughing, it's been legislated so of course its fair) back to my particular breach of the system. Apparently I had been sent a show cause notice by OFT as to why the company's Security Firm Licence should not be cancelled since I had not furnished evidence of association membership in March 2013 as requested. Since I had not received the notice which had been posted to the old company address (it's probably with the request for confirmation of association membership) The Security Firm Licence was therefore cancelled and a notice to advise of this and demand return of the licence was sent to the same old address. I failed to comply within the 14 days allowed thus leaving the company and its 'prior director' (their term) liable to prosecution.
Now the interesting part - the company's association membership expired June 30 2012, the Security Firm Licence expired in August/September 2012 while my personal security licences all expired in October 2012. My question to OFT was "How does one cancel an expired licence, held by a company no longer trading?" Even if the OFT had been generous enough to renew the licences without application and ultra high fees - do they not check their own department records to see if the old boys club might have got it wrong.
BTW for the record - I worked in the security industry in Australia for 31 years and was never asked to produce my licence by anyone - if I had never registered, none of this would apply! Wonderful system hey. Please don't get me wrong there is some policing but only of "Crowd Controllers" at licensed premises 'Bouncers' was the term of old and some bright spark decided that they were providing security services.... 'Bouncing' has far more to do with safety and marketing (reputation of clubs) than anything else but Security it is NOT - I don't care how much it's legislated, it will never be seen as security by true security providers.
Well I've had my grumble, the ball is in the OFT court (no pun intended). I actually quite enjoyed the day :)
Till Next Time, God Bless.