About SCEG

The Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) is a Special Interest Group, within ADS, which was formed in January 2011 to define, develop and facilitate robust, internationally recognised professional standards for the UK Private Security Sector operating abroad. An important part of SCEG’s success was the decision to establish it within ADS – a highly respected international trade association with strong links with government, and with a reputation for quality and strong support for UK exports. In June 2011, just 6 months after SCEG was formed, and following a competitive selection process, the UK Government appointed the SCEG as its partner for the development and accreditation of standards for the UK private security industry operating in the land environment overseas. The Written Ministerial Statement 21 June 2011 can be downloaded below. In autumn 2011, SCEG’s remit was extended to include the Maritime Sector as well as Land reflecting increasing concerns about the rise in successful piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean. SCEG’s partnership with the UK Government is vital and provides a unique construct whereby an industry body has a sustained dialogue with government departments affording SCEG members the opportunity to contribute to the debate, shape policies and influence international fora.


SCEG members represent the vast majority of the UK industry delivering security in challenging environments on land and at sea. Members represent the spectrum of companies operating in this specialist sector from large multinational to small and medium enterprises. All SCEG members by joining have demonstrated a willingness to embrace regulation, transparency and professional standards. In addition to those members whose core business is to deliver armed security in complex environments, several SCEG members are training and specialist providers to the industry. The legal and insurance sectors are well represented within SCEG with several lawyers, insurance brokers and underwriters enjoying Associate Membership. Affiliate Members of SCEG include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Transport both of whom are members of the Executive Committee.



SCEG engages across government on a sustained basis on a range of issues pertinent to the industry. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the principal conduit for the partnership but SCEG is also actively engaged with the Department for Transport, (DfT) the Home Office, the Department for Business Innovation Skills (BIS), UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).


The SCEG Terms of Reference can be downloaded below.

The SCEG Main Meeting and Executive Committee meetings are held quarterly at ADS in Salamanca Square.

SCEG ToRs V11 14 Dec 2016


The SCEG has established a number of working groups to: provide expert support and advice to Members; discuss technical issues of mutual interest across industry; provide a forum for government engagement with the PSC sector; and capture views to represent to the UK government. The main Working Groups are currently:

  • The Maritime Security Working Group. Chair – Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime Intelligence Service
  • The Standards and Accreditation Working Group. Chair – Glynne Evans, Olive Group


The Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States Related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict (herein after the Montreux Document) is an intergovernmental initiative, launched cooperatively by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross, supported by DCAF, to promote respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law whenever private military and security companies (PMSCs) are present in armed conflicts. The Montreux Document encourages the adoption of national regulations on PMSCs designed to strengthen respect for international law. The Montreux Document also offers practical guidance in contexts outside situations of armed conflicts as its good practices are best implemented during peacetime.

The Montreux Document was endorsed by seventeen states when it was first adopted in 2008. Six years later, 51 states and three intergovernmental organisations have endorsed the Montreux Document. Together, they represent an enormous knowledge base of good practice reflecting a variety of legal systems and different experiences of private military and security companies.

In December 2013, on the occasion of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Montreux Document, the Swiss government, the ICRC and DCAF organised a major international gathering in December 2013 known as the Montreux+5 Conference

Montreux+5 Conference. The Conference was attended by approximately 80 participants, representing governments, intergovernmental organisations, academics and civil society organisations. SCEG was represented by several companies and Director SCEG addressed the delegates. The Conference focused on implementation challenges, outreach and possibility of institutionalising a regular dialogue to coordinate states’ efforts on the regulation of private military and security companies. Montreux Document participants thus agreed to establish the Montreux Document Forum (MDF). The forum is intended to strengthen the dialogue among participating states and international organisations. The MDF will be co-chaired by Switzerland and the ICRC, with the support of DCAF as the forum’s Secretariat.

The Montreux Document forms part of the ‘Swiss Initiative’ on private security regulation. It is a complementary initiative to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers with a shared goal of promoting effective regulation of the international private security industry.



Building on the Montreux Document (2008), the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC) see http://www.icoc-psp.org/) of November 2010 sets out a body of principles derived from human rights and international humanitarian law to govern the operations of private security services providers in terms of their own management and as regards their responsibilities towards those who might be impacted by their activities.  It was developed in a multi stakeholder process to clarify the standards required of private security companies operating in complex environments as well as to improve oversight and accountability of these companies. Apart from human rights principles. The Code includes specific commitments on the management and governance of companies, including how they vet personnel and sub-contractors, manage weapons, procedures governing the use of force and grievance procedures. All SCEG members are required to read and agree to abide by the principles in the Code.

The ICOC also acts as a founding instrument for a broader initiative to create better governance, compliance and accountability. In particular, provision was made under Article 7a for the establishment of objective and measurable standards based on the Code with the objective of realising common and internationally recognised operational and business practice standards. This was given effect by the negotiation of the American national standard known as PSC1 “Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations-Requirements with Guidance” finalised in 2012 (see http://www.acq.osd.mil/log/PS/psc.html).


The US Department of Defense commissioned the security trade association, ASIS, to develop an American National Standard for land-based Private Security Companies. This standard, known as PSC1, has a strong human rights underpinning and was framed in such a way that it could be adopted by other nations for use internationally. PSC1 was developed after an extensive consultation process which was strongly supported by the SCEG. PSC1 and the associated conformity standard, PSC2, were published in early 2012 and SCEGs unreserved recommendation to the UK Government was that PSC1 be accepted as the basis for our UK national standard, with the additional requirement for independent 3rd party certification, and provision for any UK specific conditions. On the 17th December 2013 a Written Ministerial Statement was issued by the UK Government advising of their intention to specify PSC1 as the UK standard and supporting it’s adoption by ISO as an international standard. The Written Ministerial Statement dated 17th December 2013 can be downloaded below.

The PSC1 standard was submitted to ISO (International Standards Organisation) and after lengthy negotiation it was developed into ISO 18788 Standard “Management system for private security operations – requirements with guidance”.  It was published as a full ISO in the summer of 2015.


In recognition of the increasing threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean, discussions between the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and ISO began in earnest in January 2012 to decide how best to develop an international standard for armed security guards on ships in the High Risk Area. Four months later IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee approved MSC Circular 1443 – Interim Guidance to Private Maritime Security Companies providing Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel on board Ships in the High Risk Area. It was also concluded that ISO should develop an international standard drawing on 1443, which itself had been informed by work completed earlier by the SCEG. The standard was to be known as ISO 28007 and to be completed as a matter of urgency.

The ISO 28007 Technical Committee included a SCEG Executive Committee member as the UK’s nominated representative. As part of the development of the ISO, meetings were held in Lyon and Brussels to hear what interested stakeholders wanted to see in the Standard. In parallel a UK Mirror Committee, hosted within BSI and led by a member of the SCEG’s Maritime Security Working Group, provided input to the ISO’s development. Many of the SCEG’s maritime security members were instrumental in the development of the ISO Publicly Available Specification (PAS) which was subsequently submitted to the IMO in November 2012. The publication of the ISO/PAS in December 2012 was a significant milestone and recognised by the UK government as an important contributor to the promotion of high professional standards amongst maritime security providers.  The standard was published as full ISO standard in March 2015. (See this LINK).

In June 2015 IMO formally endorsed ISO 28007 in Flag State guidance.


These two auditable standards provide the means for private security companies and private maritime security companies to be audited against the way in which their processes and management systems have given effect to international and national obligations, laws and regulations as well voluntary commitments they have accepted through accredited certification by Accredited Certification Bodies.

After a rigorous process of pilot assessments during 2014, the UK Accreditation Service accredited two certification bodies to offer accredited certification to PSCs for PSC1 and three certification bodies to offer accredited certification to PMSCs for ISO PAS 28007. Details are in the link, including a list of the companies who have successfully achieved and maintained certification under these instruments (Accredited Certification for PSC1 / ISO 28007).


icocaThe ICOC provided for the establishment of independent mechanisms for effective governance and oversight of signatory companies and their compliance with the Code.  A major step has been taken through agreement in December 2013 on the International Code of Conduct Association as a multi stakeholder initiative with a Board of 12 members drawn from civil society, governments and the private security industry. The ICOCA Association is establishing its procedures and firm requirements for membership and may well approve its first members who have achieved approved accredited certification to include, for example,  PSC1/ISO 18788 and ISO PAS 28007/ISO 28007 during the course of 2015 http://www.icoca.ch/