EXCLUSIVE: The approval of a Competence Management System for waste management company FCC Environment is being seen as a big step forward for an alternative approach to meeting waste permit requirements.
For many years, the way for waste permit competency requirements to be met has been by getting an individual approved as a technically competent person, under a CIWM/WAMITAB operator’s certificate scheme.
However, the Environment Agency has reminded the waste management sector that there is now an alternative route to meeting permit requirements by using a scheme run under the auspices of one of the government’s skills councils, EU Skills.
The Environment Agency states:
“If you have an environmental permit for a waste operation, or certain installations, you must join and comply with the requirements of one of these two government approved schemes:
– the scheme run jointly by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB
– the Energy & Utility sector Skills Council (EU Skills) – a scheme run jointly by EU Skills and the Environmental Services Association (ESA).”
In contrast to the CIWM/WAMITAB scheme, the new competence route through EU Skills means that the permitted company is no longer sometimes dependent on one individual and while it can be more costly to develop, those involved say the new approach has the advantage of providing company-wide competency. And, the new EU Skills scheme has been developed with the support of the waste management sector via the ESA.
Denise McGlynn, at EU Skills waste sector division, explained that under the new system: “Companies will have to work out what is required and make sure that their employees have the skills to be employed in relation to the work involved. The new CMS approach brings competency back to the business as a focus and should help make directors more aware of the important issues involved.”
Ms McGlynn commented that while it might be easier, for example, for landfill sites to have one person in charge, AD facilities through to MRFs can be more complex operations covering more than one site and have differing permits which means that the new CMS system can be more appropriate. “It is a more sophisticated approach. If people do leave and they are the only one, especially for a small company, having just one person leave can then cause problems.”
The new CMS has been a long-time in development, said Ms McGlynn. “It was approved in 2009 by Defra and the Welsh Government and now with UKAS accreditation it is being rolled out. The Competence Management System is being adopted by many businesses to demonstrate technical competence for environmental permitting – it is proving to be a cost-effective approach that creates competence awareness across the organisations, improving standards and efficiency.”
Angie Burgess, learning and development manager at FCC Environment, commented that receiving accreditation from Lloyds Register for the company’s Competence Management System is a really “positive step for FCC”.
Ms Burgess said: “FCC Environment is delighted to have received confirmation of our CMS accreditation from Lloyds Register for the next year. The accreditation is testament to the dedication, hard work and expertise of our team.
“We are committed to ensuring the highest possible standards of competence, and helping our employees to develop their own skills and abilities to reach their potential, while also ensuring that we as a business have the highest possible standards of corporate competence. We won’t rest on our laurels, and are now looking to ensure we are accredited again next year.”
The FCC manager said that she felt that the EU Skills scheme is flexible and had allowed the creation of a CMS which is unique to the company and fits its requirements. “We have designed the scheme to assess our managers and supervisors to ensure they are competent in all avenues of their role and are able to extend the scheme to cover other roles in the future.”
And, Ms Burgess added: “The EU Skills corporate scheme releases our managers from the attendance hours required under the WAMITAB/CIWM scheme and allows our managers to focus on the areas that need most attention.”
Jacob Hayler, ESA executive director, told letsrecycle.com: “ESA and its members worked with Energy & Utility Skills to develop the Competence Management Scheme and we are delighted that one of our major members, FCC, has now successfully achieved certification of their competence management system.”
He explained: “The externally audited scheme, which has recently achieved UKAS accreditation, takes a sophisticated ‘management systems’ approach to demonstrating technical competence and recognises investment in skills and training across the whole business, rather than on an individual.”