Competence Management System


CMS is a technical scheme that enables operators to demonstrate technical competent management of their permitted activities.

What is CMS – Competence Management System Certification?

The competence management system, developed by Energy & Utility Skills is a technical scheme that enables operators to demonstrate technical competent management of their permitted activities. It can be used in any industry, that requires technical competence for the management of their environment permit as required by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 and in Scotland, by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 

The Competence Management System, which is approved in England by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency, in Wales by the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales and in Scotland by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and is based on the principles of a Management System e.g., ISO 14001.

On 9th September 2021, version 5 of the CMS standard was released. Version 5 aligns the standard with Annex SL. The transition period will end on 31 March 2024.



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Benefits of CMS

Operational consistency icon

Operational consistency

Facilitates identification of skills gaps and assists in the development of operational consistency across sites whilst demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to skills, employee development and competence.

Managing site competence  icon

Managing site competence

Removes the reliance on one specific individual being technically competent and being present on site eliminating the need to record attendance levels.

Legal compliance icon

Legal compliance

Understand how statutory and regulatory requirements impact your organisation and its customers.

Increases staff awareness icon

Increases staff awareness

Increases staff awareness of environmental issues and permit requirements and of emergency situations thereby potentially reducing incident response time and risk of site downtime.

Integration with other management systems icon

Integration with other management systems

Can be integrated with other management systems, based upon the PDCA cycle and can be UKAS accredited.

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Environmental permit

Satisfies the competence condition of your environmental permit.

Improved stakeholder relationships icon

Improved stakeholder relationships

If you are attempting to expand your business into new territories, certification is the best way to demonstrate to potential customers that you’re taking proactive steps to be responsible.

Supports personal development icon

Supports personal development

Supports the personal development of all employees not just named technically competent persons in your organisation.

Why Implement CMS?

CMS is right for you if your organisation wants to demonstrate your commitment to ensure that all individuals whose work contributes to the conditions of an environmental permit or equivalent are competent to carry out the work of their role.

Following a consultation with the UK government, legislation, The Environmental Protection (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England and Wales) Regulations 2018, has been introduced to require all applicable waste facilities to have a written management system and technical competence conditions applied.

If you have an environmental permit (or waste management licence) for a waste operation, or certain installations, you could use CMS certification to adhere to legislative requirements.

Can It Be Integrated?

Your CMS certification can be aligned with your ISO 14001 certification. Please talk to us if you wish to discuss how CMS can be incorporated into your ISO 14001 certification programme.

How Can NQA Help?

With a wealth of experience providing accredited management systems certifications, NQA is ideally placed to partner with you to meet stakeholder requirements and exceed industry expectations.

NQA is highly involved in a wide variety of industry committees and standards writing teams, helping us to maintain a keen awareness of changes within the industry. We are committed to ensuring customer awareness regarding changes in industry strategy, regulations, and standard requirements that may impact your management system approach.

Upcoming Training

At NQA we are developing training and materials to assist our clients on what they need to know to promote and implement effective systems. If you would like to be notified once our new CMS training course launches please get in touch.

Steps to Certification

  1. Step 1

    Complete a Quote Request Form so we can understand you and your business. We will then use this to personally prepare a proposal for your certification and define what is known as your 'scope of assessment'.

  2. Step 2

    We will then contact you to book your assessment with an NQA assessor. It consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a management review and a full cycle of internal audits.

  3. Step 3

    Following a successful stage two audit, a decision is made. If positive, your certification will be issued by NQA, with both a hard and soft copy of the certificate awarded. Certification is valid for three years and maintained through surveillance audits (years one and two) and a recertification audit in year three.

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