Bob Renton: Introducing the Competency Assessment System

Bob Renton, consultant to Local Authority Building Standards Scotland, on the development of the Competency Assessment System and plans for implementation next year.

Bob Renton: Introducing the Competency Assessment System

Bob Renton

The Competency Assessment System, or CAS for short, has been developed over the last couple of years by Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) with involvement from many people working in the building standards profession in different local authorities. The testing of prototype versions has ensured that the CAS has undergone changes to improve its usability and presentation in response to feedback. Work is underway to ensure the final version is in good shape to be launched for all staff from April 2021.

For the first time there will be a single and nationally consistent framework setting out the competencies required for everyone working in a building standards job. The key element is a series of job profiles that define the skill requirements for each role. From April, managers and staff will use the CAS to help individuals define their skills, identify any gaps and access opportunities to meet their learning and development needs. At this point, the CAS will be formally adopted by the Scottish Government into the verification Operating Framework.

Flexibility for Local Needs

The CAS has been designed to cater for mainstream building types and issues. The competency levels have therefore been designed to capture most building activity. However, innovative and unusual building designs will always be produced. Where local conditions exist that require specific competencies, it is expected that these will be identified at local authority level with local knowledge which lies at the heart of the building standards system in Scotland.

Using the CAS

The CAS Toolkit is an interactive document that is used to complete a job profile for an individual member of staff. An initial assessment of their skills and competence by the job holder is the basis of a discussion with their line manager to agree existing competencies and any skill gaps that indicate development needs. The CAS Toolkit is used to identify possible in-house training options and external courses leading to accredited qualifications as appropriate.

The first year of operation will provide an opportunity for everyone to provide feedback on their experience of working with CAS. Improvements will be taken forward to ensure the final version from April 2022 meets the needs of all users and is an effective tool for the identification and development of professional competencies required in the building standards profession.

Further information

LABSS and BSD are working to ensure the CAS is ready to go live next April. Further updates will be shared as we get ready to implement the CAS.

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