Vetting (private security providers)
Vetting requirements: managing risks around private security providers in the absence of public documentation and available background information
As part of the risk assessment exercise, gather as much information as possible on the private security industry in the country, in particular with regard to regulation and performance history 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)
- Consult with host and home government authorities, other companies, civil society organisations and local communities.
- Conduct research using local media, web resources and reports developed by international organisations, multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil society organisations and experts.
- Examine applicable private security laws and other national legal requirements, in particular with regard to the issuance of business and equipment licenses and training certificates. This will provide the company with some notions of the kind of documentation that private security providers will be able to submit with their applications to bid for a contract.
- Identify trends in cases of human rights abuses in which local private security providers have been involved.
- Elaborate a list of all private security providers that are known to have been involved in human rights abuses and/or violations of international humanitarian law and use it as part of the criteria for automatic exclusion in the evaluation process for the selection of a private security provider (see Selecting private security providers: assessing quality and cost considerations within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
- Identify if private security providers have military backgrounds, especially in contexts where the public security sector is alleged to have committed human rights abuses and/or violations of international humanitarian law.
Develop a request for proposals that requires each applicant to provide background information
(see Selecting private security providers: assessing quality and cost considerations within Bids and contracts (Working with Private Security Providers).
This information will help the company conduct due diligence, hire providers with a degree of professionalism and draft an appropriate contract.
- Key information required for vetting private security providers should include:
Possession of all necessary business licenses, registrations, permits, authorisations or approvals required under applicable international and national law of the home and host States.
Possession of all necessary licenses, registrations, permits, authorisations or approvals required under the laws of States of nationality of private security provider personnel.
Sufficient evidence the security provider has implemented processes to employ qualified and experienced personnel.
Sufficient evidence of adequate equipment, facilities, resources and infrastructure for the timely and competent performance of the mandate.
Sufficient evidence of its good reputation and irreproachable business conduct.
Company membership and good standing in the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA), national industry regulatory bodies, other trade associations and/or stakeholder initiatives.
Company profile, including a brief history of the potential contractors, with personnel and property records, a list of previous clients and information on affiliated companies, as applicable.
Name changes or ownership changes.
Internal policies implementing international and national standards and company codes of conduct.
Proof of training on human rights and humanitarian law, the use of force, weapons and firearms and first aid.
Evaluate bids according to the requirements laid out in the request for proposals
(see Selecting private security providers: assessing quality and cost considerations within Bids and contracts – Working with Private Security Providers).
Lay out clear terms on exclusion criteria, award criteria, needed personnel and required weapons and equipment.
- The exclusion criteria related to vetting should consider:
National criminal records or other evidence indicating violations of international humanitarian law or human rights abuses linked to a potential contractor or its personnel. Records should indicate if personnel have faced credible allegations of any national criminal offence, breaches of international criminal, abuses of international human rights law or violations of international humanitarian law in any jurisdiction.
Evidence of grave professional misconduct by the company or its personnel.
Failure to provide the requested documentation and information or submission of false and/or misleading information.
Inability to fulfil a key requirement of the request for proposals.
Evidence of bribery, corruption or other conflict of interest.
- The award criteria related to personnel standards should take into account procedures and management systems that the company has in place to screen, train and monitor personnel, as well as criteria directly applying to its personnel. Most importantly, they include:
Recruitment and selection methodology (including criminal screening, human rights and international humanitarian law abuse screening, drug screening, discharge from public or private security services and psychological screening).
Average officer experience (including employee backgrounds, experience in industry and contract-specific experience).
Training on human rights, international humanitarian law (in situations of armed conflict), use of force and firearms, crowd management, conflict-diffusion techniques, and other skills (e.g. restraining or apprehending individuals).
Policies relating to international humanitarian law and human rights law, especially on the use of force and firearms, as well as policies against bribery, corruption and other crimes. Evaluate systems for implementing these policies, training personnel and reporting compliance.
Systems to control the management, use and handling of weapons, firearms and ammunition (e.g. registers, licenses, hand-over, transportation).
Ensure the selected private security provider has an effective vetting programme.
Develop a contract with the private security provider; according to the Montreux Document, 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 and by sub-contractors. 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).
Encourage the private security provider to sign a formal declaration that none of its employees have been implicated in abuses of human rights and/or violations of international humanitarian law.
- Request an attestation by personnel that nothing in their present or past conduct would contradict the company’s policies and code of conduct for private security.