Why the Present Method of Purchasing CCTV Fails the Customer

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As Independent CCTV Consultants (working for a CCTV Consultancy rather than an installation company) we are in the privileged position to both audit CCTV systems and discuss, with thousands of users, the problems encountered. In considering this, there is compelling evidence that, in the vast majority of cases, the present system of purchasing and maintaining CCTV fails to work in the customer's interest. The statistics in Analysis of CCTV Installation and Maintenance within the UK illustrate that 80% of CCTV Systems are not fit for purpose while at the time of installation 90% are illegal to use as they fail to comply with current legislation.

Generally CCTV is purchased in one of two ways.

  1. Obtain 1-3 quotations from companies that sell CCTV.
  2. Employ a consultant to provide a professional design and oversee the installation.

Although all of the problems shown in our analysis are associated with the first method it is still, by far, the most popular. The second route virtually guarantees to provide the desired outcome but due to the costs involved is generally limited to local government or very large organisations.

We believe that a radical rethink of the way organisations procure and maintain their CCTV is required. The current method of approaching up to three companies in the belief that they will provide a system that meets the customer's needs and complies with Home Office/police advice is fundamentally flawed. The following pages describe in detail the various fault lines which are intrinsic within the existing procurement model.

While it is tempting to tinker with the current model our opinion, as consultants, is that the existing problems are so long-standing and deep-rooted that a totally new approach is required and that the whole edifice needs rebuilding.


Provide, at little or no cost, an Independent CCTV Design Consultant to any organisation that requires a CCTV system to be designed or upgraded. The consultant's responsibility will be to specify the CCTV system ensuring that it complies with current legislation and the Observation Categories laid out in the Home Office CCTV Operational Requirements Manual. The Consultant will also specify the equipment, provide budget costs and arrange the tender of the system to three companies that are known to work at a high level of proficiency and at competitive prices.

This solution harnesses the success enjoyed by those who can afford professional consultancy and makes it available to all. One area that must be addressed is encapsulated within the phrase, "at little or no cost" as many small to medium organisations are unable, to afford the £400+ per day that professional consultancy costs.


In examining the audit trail of CCTV installations we have reached the conclusion that those paying for the design of CCTV systems through a consultant are often paying twice. As well is paying the consultancy fee there is often, within the price of the system, an element for the installation company to pay salary, commission and expenses to their own account manager/consultant/salesperson.

Having carefully chosen companies to whom we send tenders we have negotiated that, as we are completing the work their salespeople would normally undertake (although to a much higher standard), our fee should not come from the client but from the budget of the successful installer which is normally allocated to pay their own sales force.

It is therefore now possible for small and medium-size companies to gain the benefits of a Professional CCTV Design Consultancy without incurring the associated costs. Our arrangement with the companies we have selected to work with should also ensure that clients pay no more than if they had gone directly to that company in the first place.


We believe that one day all CCTV systems will be designed this way. Until then The CCTV Advisory Service is pleased to be able to offer to its clients "Total CCTV Management".

As its name suggests this package provides not just for the design of systems but also for a consultant to keep a watching brief on the client's CCTV system; organising maintenance, advising on any additions or changes that the system may require, being available to answer any questions which may arise and ensuring that any costs are equitable and not to the disadvantage of the client.

The following pages will give you a comparison between the traditional methods of procurement and the benefits that clients of Total CCTV Management can expect.

Continue to: Purchasing a CCTV System or Additional Equipment

If you would like us to design or upgrade your CCTV system and ensure that you obtain a competitive price by tendering the installation to three pre qualified companies please click here.