The Different Levels of Competence

Your competence is the combination of your knowledge, the skills you have acquired and how those combine into performance. A consistent level of achievement to an appropriate standard is evidence of competence.

Our Competency Framework recognises four levels of competence: Basic, Capable, Accomplished and Authoritative. Each of the individual competencies has a description of what would typically be expected of someone working at each level.

It is important to note that the descriptions of what is covered by each competency are necessarily quite general so that you can apply the Framework to your own work context; whether you are working as a land manager, consultant, statutory agency adviser or regulator, policymaker, or any other relevant role.

It is for each individual to decide where the competencies appropriate to their work experience ‘fit in’ to the Framework, although we can provide advice and help if required.

If you are working at a Basic level of competence you are expected to have some knowledge of the specified activity and its terminology and concepts. You will have some experience of doing the activity and will be able to carry out straightforward relevant tasks to the required standard under supervision.

If you are at a Capable level of competence you will have the knowledge and experience to carry out standard relevant tasks confidently and consistently without supervision. You may even supervise others. However, you are likely to need to seek advice before carrying out more complex or non-standard tasks.

If you are working at an Accomplished level of competence you will have the knowledge and experience to carry out complex, specialist or non-standard tasks confidently and consistently. You will be aware of alternative approaches and can provide guidance, instruction and advice on the activity to others.

If you are at the Authoritative level of competence you will be widely recognised as an authority, both by others in your organisation and by external peers, for the knowledge and experience you demonstrate.

As you work your way up from a Basic level to an Accomplished (or even Authoritative) one, you will be able to demonstrate increasing skill and knowledge and will require less supervision and guidance. CIEEM’s Competency Framework underpins much of our work.  Much of our Professional Development programme aligns with it where relevant, and higher grades of membership and Chartership can only be attained by evidencing your competence against the requirements of the framework.  Some larger organisations are also adopting the Competency Framework as an internal staff development structure, or in some cases adapting it to produce bespoke versions directly relevant to their work.

Use the online Competency Framework self-assessment tool.