Notice from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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LIRA Letter -
4 February 2022

LETTER TO ISLAND RATEPAYERS REGARDING THE ALLSOUND CONTRACT

 
During the course of 2021 LIRA undertook to do an analysis of the existing security contract with service provider, Allsound, for a number of reasons:
  • The contract was due to expire at the end of February 2022;
  • The existing contract has much ambiguity which needed to be addressed from a legal perspective;
  • There were liabilities embedded in the original contract which would prove significantly detrimental to LIRA’s financial position should the contract fail or be cancelled by LIRA or Allsound at any time;
  • Allsound had advised that the monthly management fee was no longer viable to be utilised as a profit factor – rather it was being allocated to compliancy requirements demanded by PSIRA which were beyond their control; we were advised that, in its current form, a significant increase was to be expected in the coming financial year;
  • Allsound operational requirements were being hampered by the poorly-defined contract in terms of implementing policy and disciplinary management within its business model – this as a result of the ongoing confusion between “Allsound guards” and “LIRA guards”. In essence, there are NO LIRA guards as this ceased in 2013 when responsibility fell to Allsound who formally issued contracts of employment to the relevant guards.

HISTORY
To offer a brief summary:


In 2013 LIRA approached Allsound with a view to taking over the management of the guards and security on Leisure Island. Prior to this, LIRA had employed security guards and were responsible for all aspects of administration and execution of duties. This became not only onerous, but Committee members were not experts in the field. Additionally, the legal liabilities and insurance requirements made the arrangement even more unsustainable.

After much negotiation, the guards were all offered employment contracts and additional benefits (medical aid, pensions etc) with Allsound Security who, in turn, took over all responsibilities of the existing guarding complement. Omitted from this process, however, was the liability that, for any reason, should guards need to be retrenched LIRA would retain responsibility for the cost. (This amounts to a significant figure to date.) Dual advertising remained on uniforms and vehicles.

As time has passed, this has resulted in many other shortcomings being highlighted, amongst them an unwillingness of the original guards to perform duties at any other sites, to adhere to Allsound Security procedural requirements in certain instances, and inconsistencies in their terms of employment when compared to industry norms to which the business must adhere.

In addition, some guards continue to act as if certain residents are their managers, whereas their management is the sole and clear responsibility of Allsound. These issues have been dealt with as and when they have arisen but have now become untenable.

A second contract was signed for a duration of 48 months in December 2017 to commence 1 March 2018 -  expiry 28 February 2022.

The current guarding format is based on the requirements as determined many years ago and has not provided for any improvement or variation over the years.
 
THE PROCESS
In 2019 a situation arose which highlighted the need for clearly defined responsibilities in the existing contract. 

A labour dispute was lodged by the guards who put in a claim for backdated 13th cheques to which they were entitled in terms of the PSIRA governing regulations. At no time would LIRA have known about this requirement; it was an accepted oversight and, after much negotiated bargaining, the matter was settled. This resulted in the expenditure of some R70k plus which had not been budgeted for by LIRA. It was deemed to be a LIRA responsibility and resulted in heated discussion at Committee level as reflected in the minutes at the time.

As a new Committee, we undertook to seek expert opinion and advice on the road forward.

Covid delayed this process and it seemed sensible at the time to continue with the existing contract until its expiry.  During the course of last year, various opinions were sought – and the first important factor now stressed is the significant changes to the security industry itself. 

For instance, LIRA may not employ guards or provide security services. The regulations governing the industry have become onerous and complex – not an area of dabbling for any Ratepayers or Residents Association. This needed to be amended as a matter of priority. 

Secondly, and of equal importance, the security methods of some 20 years ago are significantly changed today. We are already well behind our neighbours in Knysna in terms of our monitoring and camera utilisation. We have a complete imbalance between “guarding” and security monitoring. This Committee has accepted the advice of external experts and has endeavoured to create a sensible balance to ensure we have the best of both.

The advice was received primarily from Mike Burmeister (Atlas Security Eastern Cape) who is considered an expert in the field both nationally and internationally with state-of-the-art control rooms and systems that make his business a leader in the industry. We are grateful for his comment and recommendations. 

The contract which the Committee has supported is based on the immediate requirements for the Island and supports future implementation of additional Artificial Intelligence and cameras that have proved so effective in the greater Knysna area in combating rising crime.

A third and final aspect was the re-awarding to Allsound Security without advertising a tender:  good governance may well indicate that we should put this out to tender. The reality, however, is quite different; we have an excellent relationship with Allsound, we wanted to ensure continuity of the guards familiar with the Island, and on investigating other options it became clear that we would not find a suitable provider. 

Some of the alternatives, in fact, use Allsound as their respondents in this area which would negate any benefit in advertising via a tender. 

This process, therefore, has been lengthy with much thought and time devoted to the end result. Against this background, Allsound Security was asked to quote in line with the recommendations we had been given.
 
THE PROPOSAL
  • The Allsound Security contract will run from 1 March 2022 for a period of 48 months. (A four-year contract enables staff to be employed without concern about continuity of contract; it gives LIRA peace of mind in terms of its service provider; it allows for continuity of a already great service but with an improved legal document protecting all parties; and providing better security insight).
  • The Scope of Work will remain identical to the original contract.
  • The guards duties will remain the same as in the original contract.
  • LIRA is absolved of all responsibility with regard to retrenchment liabilities (therefore enabling Allsound Security to be fully responsible and compliant in terms of the Labour Law, as well as all PSIRA legislation at present and into the future).
  • Monthly meetings, Communication and Performance Reviews remain unchanged.
  • LIRA will retain the security hut and make it available to Allsound at no cost.
  • There will be NO change to the daytime guarding schedule – two guards will be on duty at all times.
  • There will be one night-time guard on duty, with vehicle access supplemented by Artificial Intelligence as below (adding not only eyes on the island but off the island, too).
  • The existing guards will be the first to be offered positions in terms of the new contract and we expect them to take up the offer. 
  • Any guards not included in this contract will be offered positions at other sites managed by Allsound Security.
  • The implementation of Artificial Intelligence will be effected to the existing cameras on the Island, which will be programmed as required to allow monitoring at both the security hut and the Allsound control room – this is a significant improvement at a small cost. The existing infrastructure allows for the addition of this technology and there is no outlay to LIRA other than a monthly nominal monitoring fee. 
  • An LPR (Licence Plate Recognition) camera will be installed at the entrance to the island, again offering an immediate alert should any vehicle red-flagged on the system enter the island. This is also vital with the increased volume of traffic entering the Island.
CONCLUSION
The security needs of the Island remain one of the most important LIRA function that this Committee manages. If we do not address the fundamental issues of improving our monitoring, adding improved technology and maintaining a high standard of guarding, we will be remiss in providing residents with the peace of mind they are used to and pay for.

We, as a Committee, believe we have acted responsibly and trust you will agree that we have to incorporate both the legal requirements and industry requirements into our agreement. We believe it is our responsibility to spend LIRA funds efficiently and allow for improvements to existing systems wherever possible. We remained extremely mindful of the service of the existing guards during this process.

It is right and fair that Allsound Security be respected as our service provider and we remain extremely grateful for its tremendous service, not only to Leisure Island, but to Knysna as a whole. As a community we need to understand the difficulty in running a successful business and refrain from interference in the daily execution of this vital service.
 
Should anyone wish to engage directly with us, please feel free to make contact and we will endeavour to answer any concerns.


Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor  and Craig Carter     

LIRA Chair & Vice Chair        
Email Mary-Anne here and Craig here       
What LIRA does for you!

* Funds 24/7 proactive security
* Liaison/lobbying Knysna Municipality on a multiplicity of issues
* Liaison/lobbying Ward 9 councillor
* Champions peak season law enforcement

* Sponsors Steenbok Nature Reserve
* Liaison Nature Conservation/SANParks
* Beautification and upkeep of LI; employment of gardeners
* Hosts Leisure Isle Festival
* Maintains property values and unequalled lifestyle
* Fosters community spirit
* A professional and dedicated volunteer committee serving your interests

 
If you are not a member - these are 11 good reasons
why most LI homeowners are, and why you should be!


Contact Barbara Mills for more information and membership forms.
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LIRA · 16 Thornely Rd · Leisure Isle · Knysna, WCape 6571 · South Africa

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