Good Business campaign – Mike Bullock Q&A

For the next instalment of our Good Business campaign, I spoke to Mike Bullock, CEO at Corps Security. Under Mike’s leadership, Corps has transformed its culture and outlook, becoming a social enterprise, a Real Living Wage advocate, and an industry leader in security officer mental health and wellness. Together, we discussed the importance of prioritising employee training and wellness, challenges of recruitment and officer support, and what Corps plans to achieve in its 2024/25 financial year.

What excites you most about being CEO of a social enterprise?

Being a social enterprise gives you so much more purpose and focus that transcends what and how you do, by focusing on why you do it. Obviously, there are the usual challenges of running a business – training and upskilling staff, ensuring there’s a return on investment, and seeking new business opportunities. However, your every move has so much more conviction as a social enterprise. Social value underpins not only our values, but how we conduct our work every day.

Social enterprises must trade for a social or environmental purpose and reinvest at least 50% of profits or surpluses back into the company to make that purpose manifest into being. We reinvest 100% of our profits into both our business, and donations to our military charity partners, including Combat Stress and the Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Families Association. It means that our work isn’t just about financial gain, but rather how our employees and the wider community can benefit from those gains. That’s the main difference between us and most businesses. We create a framework for decisions that ensure we are doing what’s right in the long-term.

Social value initiatives are so much more than tick-box exercises to us, and no corner is cut in our work. I know that as CEO, not all of Corps’ decisions will be the right ones, but we will always try to make the best-informed decisions to do what is right. That is my genuine belief, and one shared throughout the business.

You’ve come a long way already, but as you’ve said before, there’s always more work to do – what are your key priorities for 2024?

Corps’ purpose at its inception in 1859 was to help veterans in need. In recent years, we have reinvigorated this purpose and continue to support veterans. We want to look after people by improving the conditions they work in, especially as the security workplace can become more and more challenging. That’s why we ran events with industry leading professionals to discuss officers’ mental health and develop plans for company-wide and industry-wide support.

In terms of the environment, we work with  Carbon Neutral Zone and have formally  signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) , so that we can balance our business endeavours with growing environmental concerns and changing legislation. It’s clear in the wider market that environmental concerns matter to all stakeholders, including our clients.

Finally, we want colleagues to enjoy their work and boost our philanthropic efforts. So, if we are more profitable as a business, we will have more to invest in charity work, and more to invest in technologies that support our officers and provide the best services to customers.

What would you consider to be the main opportunities for growth in the next three years?

We’re focusing on technology, for multiple reasons. For security services, a physical requirement will always be a must – even if a client is being monitored remotely, people are still needed for on-the-ground actionable change. We want to enable those people to make the best-informed decisions, which means improving our monitoring and consulting technologies. As a forward-thinking business, we must futureproof our service by bringing people into the industry with experience, expertise, and the best tools at their fingertips.

We have three streams of focus; the expertise of our skilled officers, the technology they can work with, and the help and support we can offer our colleagues.

With an unstable environment currently – including charged political tensions and challenging economic conditions, particularly high interest rates, long-term financial decisions can be hard to make. However, making decisions like technological investment are necessary and, although a risk, will keep our officers working effectively, protecting them and our clients.

What main challenges do you envisage in the coming years?

Honestly, our main issue is attracting the right people when there’s over 60,000 vacancies for security officers. The entire industry clearly needs to make the role more attractive. That’s why we’ve invested in the training of officers and advocate for their wellbeing. As a RLW recognised service provider, over 95%  of our colleagues are paid the RLW at minimum, with an ambition to hit 100% by the end of the financial year.

Our investment in virtual reality (VR) software to develop training courses is helping us succeed too, yielding high employee retention and exceptionally positive feedback. VR makes for a new, fully immersive experience for trainees, and shows care and precision has been put into officer training.

For our officers working in Corps Monitoring and on the technical side of the company, a different skill case is needed, and pay is on average higher. Our NSI Gold Alarm Receiving Centre has recently been accredited by Secured by Design, one of the key police crime prevention initiatives and just last month handled over 250,00 alarm responses with an average response time of just 7 seconds.

What are the main opportunities and challenges facing the FM sector at large?

I think one major debate among FM providers is whether you go for an integrated proposition or opt for a managed service. This depends on your sector and your area of expertise.

The integration of multiple FM systems does have value. For example, it can combine internal systems and teams into one holistic service for all of a client’s needs. But you can take an integration too far – if too many specialists are conjoined into one system, it can reduce efficiency and may jeopardise the level of expertise associated with each service line.

Managed services in FM are outsourced and specific, which can provide better opportunities to drill down the capabilities, experiences, knowledge and expertise of your staff and service, to a higher degree than as a general, integrated, provider.

Whether TFM or IFM, or single service line, you need to ensure there are strong shared values at the core of your FM service that encourages open and honest dialogue if you want the best outcome.

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

I think that greater belief in your own conviction is a great value to start out with. At the beginning of your career, you’ve barely lived. You’ll do many jobs that you won’t always enjoy, but the worst ones are the ones that will teach you the most about yourself and what you want to do. Nobody has a master plan – you can have good luck, bad luck, and make some dodgy choices along the way. Life isn’t linear, so embrace new challenges to build yourself up.

My final advice is don’t be late – it’s disrespectful.

Follow our Good Business campaign

More information the Good Business campaign is available on our website.

The previous ten interviews in the series are available to read on our website:

If you’d like to find out more or talk about how you and your business can get involved, email me on

Jo Sutherland