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Installing energy efficient access control systems for public sector buildings...

The public sector is under considerable scrutiny to reduce its carbon emissions. The Government has set strict targets for the sector to reduce its energy consumption by 80 per cent by 2050. To do so it must look carefully at ways to improve its practices to help benefit the environment, conserve energy and reduce operational costs. One key area that the public sector must work on to reduce energy costs is security. With huge organisations like the NHS and the emergency services, protecting patient and customer information must be at the forefront of thinking for the sector. Simon Birchall, managing director of leading workforce management solutions developer timeware® (UK), discusses how, in order to move forward, the sector must deploy security strategies that are both efficient and reliable.

Compared with the private sector, reducing carbon emissions across the board will be no mean feat for the public sector. Whilst independent businesses can be more flexible and are able to change direction at little notice, the public sector unfortunately doesn’t have this luxury. One reason for this is that the sector is property of the government and therefore the taxpayer. This means that big changes do not happen fast and take a considerable amount of toing and froing before any sort of consensus can be reached.

Security a top priority for public sector buildings
The public sector is responsible for protecting a huge amount of confidential information; services such as the NHS, the police, the military and the emergency services all hold classified data which needs to be properly protected. Because of this, security is a top priority for the sector and so its security systems must be second to none to ensure this data is handled appropriately.

Access control systems
One integral part of any organisations’ security strategy is its access control system. Access control is essential for public sector buildings where access to and from buildings must be carefully monitored as confidential patient or customer data must be handled by those with the necessary clearance. Whatever part of the public sector, a competent access control system will help to increase efficiency and overall security.

The best way to monitor personnel moving between buildings and the level of clearance an individual has is to install a sophisticated access control programme which can recall information about individual’s level of access and prohibitions.  

Modernising security processes
In recent years, access control technology has become more and more sophisticated and modern systems are now using biometrics to provide a reliable and energy-saving solution to managing the movement of people between restricted buildings.

With an ability to prevent issues such as undocumented access, loss of ID cards and ID swapping, biometrics are a formidable alternative to previous access control systems that relied on passwords and physical keys.

Nowadays access control and biometric technology has the capabilities to control access points and identify, record and track all employees, contractors, visitors and vendors that may have access to the building. This is particularly useful in public sector buildings where any number of individuals can visit a building on any given day. It can also be used to deny access and trigger an alarm when anyone attempts to enter an area without jurisdiction. New technology can even control the times individuals have access to facilities.

A sophisticated access control system will also help to lower operational costs which in turn will help to increase efficiency. It will also help to conserve valuable human resources for other tasks as the access control system will work competently at each check point to ensure only individuals with authorisation can enter the building.

Using access control to protect people and property
An example of the latest access management technology available to businesses is timeware’s® access control package which provides an effective way to lower operational costs, reduce energy wastage and increase overall security.

The timeware® software is designed to ensure that when a temporary worker completes a job they will no longer have access to the building and resources. For example in a public sector building visitors to the building or employees working on temporary contracts would be unable to access the site and have access to any confidential information inside once they have completed a job. The system can also quickly disable lost or stolen badges at a moment’s notice. The access control technology can be fitted to any door and biometric readers will ensure only authorised personnel have access through it. The software is extremely effective at identifying any prohibited individuals trying to gain entry as the alert feature will notify immediately of any failed entry attempts and will keep an archive of all door activity to be used for future reference.

Once the system is installed, it is possible to produce reports on a visitor’s movements and to track individuals around a building. For public sector workers working on temporary contracts, it is also possible to supply them with badges that will cease to function after a pre-determined time.

So by deploying a robust security strategy that both protects and conserves energy, public sector organisations can work towards the targets set by government to reduce carbon emissions by 2050. With security a top priority for the public sector, installation of a sophisticated access control system can help to protect confidential data and limit movements between buildings to only those with authorisation.