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HSE Asbestos Licence duration for the new style electronic Licence renewals have changed.

The electronic Licence renewal pilot is now fully underway and some eagle eyed people have been asking ACAD why all renewals seem to be issued the full 3 year term. HSE have confirmed this is not some chance occurrence but actually how the new system works. At renewal a company will either be granted a Licence or they will not, and where they are granted one it will be the full (or what will become known as the standard) 3 year duration.

So is the “old” 3 year standard the “new” 3 year standard?

Not really. Where in the past HSE would perhaps issue an 18 month Licence term so they could come back to look at the company sooner, all things being equal they will now issue a 3 year term. The difference though is HSE have introduced a new formal review meeting with the Licence holders typically 12 months down the line to ensure any changes or improvements have been fully implemented. It is an important point to note that the formal review will not be put as a condition on a licence so will remain private between the HSE and the (3 year) Licence holder. Should a company fail to make the improvements specified HSE could start the Licence revocation process or issue a formal notice which will clearly be very public.

New applicants will continue to undertake a face to face initial assessment and grant a 1 year Licence.

The effect of this will be minimal in terms of the overall number of Licence Holders but the average frequency of renewal assessments is going to reduce and therefore ease the burden on HSE. This will allow HSE to focus on site inspections and monitoring the Licenced community. Interestingly it also means the total cost of Licence renewals to the industry will decrease so will fees have to increase to account for this within HSE?

How will clients sort through all the Licence holders?

HSE always advise that a client should not simply rely upon the Licence term when selecting a contractor but many client organisations do specify the 3 year Licence term on their pre-qualifications. This is where being a member of a Trade Association will becoming increasingly important. Clients can identify those Licence holders that do go the extra mile, who are up to date on all the latest developments from HSE, who do have access to technical advice & support when required and who are regularly audited by a respected organisation with access to the ASB5 data.

Any feedback from HSE on applications submitted in this pilot phase?

Lots. A full round up will be discussed during the forthcoming ACAD regional meetings but here are a few pointers…

Firstly, don’t delay sending in your application:

This first round of renewals are taking time as all parties are experiencing a learning curve whilst the new process is developed (the application form is up to version 6 for example). If licence holders delay sending in their application it will cause a build up within HSE that could mean your licence term expiring before your new licence is issued so we advise you get your application in during the first month after receiving your 4 month renewal notice to allow up to 12 weeks for this new process to run its course.

Secondly, don’t restrict your evidence base:

A broader evidence base is better than trying to use a single item to demonstrate lots of different items. Don’t forget this is your opportunity to demonstrate just how good you and your organisation are, don’t be shy.

And thirdly, pick your Plans of Work & site packs carefully:

HSE ask for 2 examples to be submitted to illustrate the range of work you do. That means if you have done 99 AIB boxing jobs and one wrap and cut job then you should not just send two AIB examples, you should send the wrap and cut job. You should also send the full contents of your site packs including site diaries to avoid HSE having to request this a second time.

ACAD are a not for profit trade association, who support and represent companies working throughout the Asbestos Industry.  ACAD provides the full range of asbestos training and runs the CITB funded Asbestos Industry NVQ assessment centres.

Not a member yet? Contact us today to find out how we can help support your business.

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Darlington, DL1 4QB

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