Earned Recognition

CIEEM is working with Natural England and the Bat Conservation Trust on the pilot for a new transformative approach to licensing mitigation work in England that impacts on bats. This approach is known as Earned Recognition.

Why bats?

Applications for licences involving bats and bat roosts are by far the highest proportion of mitigation licence applications received by Natural England and numbers are increasing year on year. The vast majority are lower risk situations but they still need to be licensed which requires time, effort and cost on the part of the developer, the consultant and Natural England. This reduces the resources available for monitoring, enforcement and drawing together the evidence base for the effectiveness of mitigation. Natural England’s resources to put into licensing are stretched and a more streamlined approach would have benefits for everyone.

We believe that an accreditation system would help to improve standards of bat mitigation and lead to better outcomes for bat conservation.

Earned Recognition

Earned Recognition works on the basis of assessing and accrediting a consultant’s competence in undertaking survey work and designing effective mitigation so that, by using an accredited consultant, developers can experience a more streamlined licensing process for their scheme or project. The competency requirements for consultants are being defined on the basis of relevant selected elements of CIEEM’s Competency Framework (but a more detailed version with a bats emphasis) with the indicators of competence mapped across to BCT’s Professional Training Standards. There will be different competency requirements based on the level of accreditation applied for which, in turn, relates to the degree of risk to bats and bat roosts from the projects that the accredited consultant will be able to work on. Quite simply, consultants who work on projects that involve higher risks to bats will require a higher level of accreditation that involves demonstrating a higher level of competence.

The number of bat species in the UK, together with the variation in their geographical distribution makes this quite a complex system to design, so we have produced some key documents:

Consultation

Natural England undertook a stakeholder consultation exercise early in the project lifecycle but the project partners then undertook a more detailed consultation in late 2020 and early 2021.

There were two consultations, one for ecologists involved in licensable mitigation work and one for other stakeholder groups, including local authority planners, local authority ecologists, developers, architects, planning consultants, builders, professional bodies and NGOs.

The project partners delivered a webinar about the proposed scheme and the forthcoming pilot on 19 November 2020. The webinar recording is available here and a summary of the question and answer session is available to download here.

The consultation is now closed and the summary report for ecologists involved in licensable mitigation work is available here, whilst the summary report for other stakeholder groups is available here. The Project Partners have produced a summary of questions and answers arising from the consultation process which can be found here.

Next Steps and Assessor Recruitment

The feedback from the consultation is now being used by the project partners to inform design of a pilot accreditation scheme to be implemented later this year.

As part of the consultation for ecologists involved in mitigation licensing, respondents were asked if they would be interested in being an Assessor or Lead Assessor (now termed Assessment Moderator, see below) as part of the ER Accreditation Scheme Pilot. The partners will be in touch with those who said yes in due course, and in the meantime we would like to extend this opportunity to those who did not respond to the consultation.

As an Earned Recognition Scheme Pilot Assessor or Assessment Moderator, you will play a critically important role in upholding the standard of the Earned Recognition scheme. You will be helping to ensure compliance with legislative requirements in relation to the protection and conservation of bats whilst supporting Natural England to administer a licensing scheme efficiently and effectively.

Assessors will primarily be undertaking the accreditation assessments of Earned Recognition applicants, which will include desk-based assessments of portfolios and Professional Review Interviews (PRI) designed to test applicants’ competence against the requirements for the Accreditation Level being applied for. Assessors will be expected to meet the Earned Recognition Accreditation Level 2 criteria at a minimum, which can be found in the Competency Profiles for Bat Mitigation.

The Assessment Moderator will be primarily be responsible for moderating Assessor accreditation assessments to ensure that accreditation outcomes are fair, valid and reliable, and that the assessment criteria have been applied consistently. In addition, the Assessment Moderator will act as mediator where first and second assessors disagree regarding assessment outcomes. The Assessment Moderator will be expected to hold a level 3 Assessor qualification.

These will be paid roles, with a maximum contribution of 30 – 40 days per Assessor (including the Assessment Moderator) anticipated between July and December 2021.

Full role profiles and application packs are still being finalised for the Assessor and Assessment Moderator roles, but if you would like to register your interest and be kept informed of opportunities, please email EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk and provide the following information:

  • Name, company and job title
  • Email address and telephone number
  • Which role(s) you would be interested in

The deadline has now been extended to midnight on 25th April 2021. 

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