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Competence Management System (CMS): An alternative and holistic approach for managing site competence

A condition of an environmental permit or waste management licence requires operators to demonstrate technical competence. Many operators fulfil this requirement through the WAMITAB scheme, but now there is an alternative route for meeting permit conditions through the Competence Management Scheme (CMS). The CMS is jointly run between the Energy and Utility Skills Council (EU Skills) and the Environmental Services Association (ESA).

The CMS is different to WAMITAB, as it recognises the competence of all employees within the organisation and removes the reliance on one specific individual being present and ensure that business continuity is maintained regardless of individual staff members being absent.

As well as satisfying permit conditions, the CMS also offers a whole range of benefits, such as:

  • Increases staff awareness of environmental issues and permit requirements, therefore reducing the likelihood of any incidents occurring onsite and the negative impacts they could cause.
  • Supports the skills and personal development of all employees.
  • May contribute towards improving overall business efficiency and quality of products.
  • Demonstrates to company stakeholders that you are taking a proactive step to improving the organisation as a whole, rather than on certain individuals.
  • Employees undergo training which is relevant to their role.
  • No requirement to record attendance levels.
  • Can be implemented by any business with an environmental permit – not just within the waste industry.
  • In some circumstances a CMS may improve OPRA scoring.
  • Can be integrated with existing management systems, such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.
  • Approved by the Environment Agency, DEFRA, Welsh government and Natural Resources Wales and is also UKAS accredited.

The scheme is structured in a similar way to the ISO system, where the organisation must develop and implement a policy and objectives which consider legal requirements and compliance of the environmental permit. A CMS is based on the plan-do-check-act cycle and is comprised of written procedures, internal audit, management review and obviously a training programme. Once certified the certificate is valid for 3 years, but an annual surveillance audit is required to ensure continual improvement.

An effectively implemented CMS has the potential to bring real and lasting benefits to any organisation and most importantly, helps to manage the risk of environmental issues through a lack in competence of site operatives.

Please get in touch if you would like further information on how a CMS can help your business.

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