Metrics for Success: Meeting Contract Standards

Aug. 19, 2015
Ensuring that supervisors maintain quality standards for manned force is crucial

Contracted guard force teams are the Security organization to the average customer today and their competence and quality is both highly critical and evident in their interactions.  However, in the more competitive markets these companies often struggle to find and retain quality staff to fill these shift-based programs and the Affordable Care Act is putting more pressure on margins. 

 In my reviews of these operations, I find a wide variety of scope and performance-related detail in the contracts that are typically valued in the millions of dollars annually and stand out as the single largest line item in the Department’s budget.  Often based on these levels of expenditure, the application of more detailed contractual requirements and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) are provided as financial incentives to excel and penalties where performance is below a specified standard.

We uniformly see the usual contractual requirements around hours of pre and in-service training, background vetting, turnover, invoicing, post assignments and so on.  I most often find that there are absences of standards that establish what I think we could all agree are really qualitative measures of performance.  We need to ensure that the vendor team remains focused on the notion of service excellence, customer responsiveness and, of most critical importance in these duties: the proactive mitigation of risk to the customer’s people and operations.

In this example we see an organization that has centered one set of its performance management requirements precisely where it belongs: on the Supervisors who are charged with establishing and maintaining the quality standards and the designated leaders who interact with the customer and every assigned officer 24/7/365.

The seven measures you see here (refer to chart) are directed to leadership and program administration.  Consider how the following might play out in your organization.

Supervisors consistently lead their teams to excel- Frankly, I don’t know how anyone could push back on this objective- it is the essence of leadership.  Is it measurable?  Certainly, but you have work with the vendor to spell out how this would be demonstrated in your unique operational environment.  How do you define operational excellence in your company and why not apply it to your contracted security team?

Opportunities for cost reduction are developed and delivered- Why wouldn’t you charge the vendor’s on-site team leaders to seek out opportunities to reduce cost and improve service levels in key areas of operation?  If they need to add cost to address your increase in scope, where can these costs be absorbed by reducing less value-based work?

Competence and accuracy in incident reporting is consistently evident- These are the records that keep you advised of risk and responsiveness not to mention are the first things requested in litigation discovery.  The Supervisor’s competence in quality and accuracy is mandatory.

100 percent of contractual requirements are met this period - The contract directs compliance on contractual details so don’t waste space in the SLA just repeating these items.  The Supervisors need to oversee these elements daily.

Independent review affirms that customers have trust and confidence in the vendor’s team- The key here is “independent review”.  This relationship needs to be periodically measured by your own staff or representative to gain reliable feedback on performance. Use incident reports for input.

There are no reportable exceptions to established plans or procedures this period- A flat -0- tolerance for a superior score seems to me to make perfect sense.

Supervisors consistently demonstrate responsive leadership in non-routine, emergency and hazardous situations- This is the basic measure of how they lead from preparation to execution.

I will share more examples next issue on standards around incident response and calls for service.  

About the Author

George Campbell

George Campbell is emeritus faculty of the Security Executive Council and former CSO of Fidelity Investments. His book, “Measures and Metrics in Corporate Security,” may be purchased through the Security Executive Council Web site. The Security Executive Council is an innovative problem-solving research and services organization that works with Tier 1 Security Leaders™ to reduce risk and add to corporate profitability in the process. A faculty of more than 100 experienced security executives provides strategy, insight and proven practices that cannot be found anywhere else. Through its pioneering approach of Collective Knowledge™, the Council serves all aspects of the security community. To learn about becoming involved, e-mail [email protected] or visit The information in this article is copyrighted by the Security Executive Council and reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.