Cega was founded in 1973 when two brothers, Graham and Clive Ponsford set up an aviation company at Shoreham Airport. Operations soon moved to Goodwood, Chichester to meet a growing demand for repatriation of sick and injured holidaymakers. By 1982 the founders decided to make Cega a dedicated air ambulance service, employing its own flight and medical crews. Cega Group is in the top league of medical assistance companies globally, with a client list, which includes premier household name insurance and travel companies. The Group's headquarters are co-located with its air ambulance fleet at Goodwood Airfield, Chichester, West Sussex. In January 2005 Cega's claims handling and medical screening division moved from the City of Chichester to new premises in Funtington, West Sussex. The move was prompted by the rapid growth of the company.
The new premises at Funtington required extensive refurbishing. Warwick Hoddy, Cega's Financial Director, oversaw the implementation of the programme. Mr Hoddy wished to review the access control system. In the Chichester office and at Goodwood, Cega had used a standalone swipe card system. Mr Hoddy felt they needed a more sophisticated access control system that could be controlled by PC. He required a system that would give them flexible access rights and enable users to be added and barred easily. With over 300 staff now employed across both sites changing permissions at each reader was no longer an option.
"To upgrade the old system would have cost more"
Mr Hoddy called in local security specialist Gardner of Chichester. They recommended Net2, a PC based system from Paxton Access. Mr Hoddy looked at the costings. He explains, "To upgrade the old system we had would have cost more than starting from scratch with the Net2 system".
Net2 used with PROXIMITY readers now controls access on one gate and 4 doors on the Funtington office and also controls access on the sports and social club housed in a separate building. The group headquarters and flight operation at Goodwood is also linked to the system at the Funtington office, via TCP/IP. Goodwood has two doors plus the main access gate to the airfield controlled by Net2. The main gate is connected by a wireless link.
"Net2 does everything we need"
Mr Hoddy is happy with the installation; the system does everything they need it to. He kindly gave an overview of how the system is set up.
CEGA are handling confidential information from individuals and companies. Mr Hoddy says "We did not want to make the building feel unfriendly by restricting all areas, but needed to ensure that some offices may only be accessed by those that work within them. Net2 has definitely given us the means to do this. At the Funtington office, the different access levels in the software mean that access can be allocated to staff according to department."
All staff cards allow them through the main gate. Once in the building free access is granted to the general office, staff restaurant and the rest rooms. Thereafter access permissions are granted according to the area in which the employees work. One office is dedicated to medical assistance and claims for one major client company. Only staff working on that company's business have access to the area. Access to the accounts office is restricted to accounts staff. When a new employee starts, the card issued gives access according to the permissions set up for their department. The cards have a photo of the new employee printed from the Net2 software. If a member of staff leaves or their access card is lost, the card can be immediately barred from gaining access at Funtington and Goodwood.
Cega provide excellent leisure facilities for their staff. There is a tennis court on site and a gym and social club, which is housed in a separate building. Net2, managed from the main building via TCP/IP controls access to the building. The door to the gym is also fitted with a proximity reader. Staff cards only allow access after they have completed the induction course for the gym.
At Goodwood, Net2 controls the door to the main office and the side entrance. The company's planes are kept here ready to collect patients who need to be returned home. The planes are equipped with everything needed to look after travellers who are injured or unwell. In fact, they are like a flying ITU department! Cega's entrance to Goodwood is closed at night by large secure metal gates. Cega's aircraft may be called out at any time, so the medical teams on call need quick and easy access. The access rights on their cards allow them to enter the Goodwood site whenever they are called.