SEPA’s Technically Competent Managers Assessment

The rules for Technically Competent Managers (TCM’s) have been revised in Scotland, and SEPA has issued updated guidance regarding provision and assessment of TCM’s at licensed waste management facilities.

This guidance applies to the assessment of technical competence of a person applying for, or holding, a waste management license for a site or mobile plant. This assessment deems the person applying for or holding this license a fit and proper person to do so, the definition of which is detailed in section 74 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In short, a person deemed not to be a fit and proper person to hold a waste management license will simply not be authorised to do so.

So, what does this mean for a licensee/applicant for a license?

SEPA require waste management activities to always be in the hands of a technically competent person, therefore an operator (person applying for or holding a license) must demonstrate to SEPA that their management structure and control mechanisms satisfy this requirement.

This doesn’t have to be the sole responsibility of one person.

Technically competent management may be provided by more than one individual; therefore, operators can provide day-to-day activities through a group of technically competent staff so that the requirement for onsite presence of a technically competent person is shared. This does mean, however, that each individual identified by the operator as providing management of day-to-day activities on the site will have to demonstrate to SEPA their competence.

SEPA considers that in most cases the minimum period a technically competent person should be on site is 25% of its operating hours per week, and they should record these hours.

Have a look here to see WHEN SEPA can assess for technical competence.

How does SEPA assess for technical competence?

· The operator will be expected to hold the relevant certificate of technical competence (COTC), Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ), National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or equivalent certification from another approved scheme.

· SEPA will continue to recognise Certificates of Technical Competence (COTC) issued by WAMITAB and the Technical Competence Management (TCM) scheme run by WAMITAB as evidence of technical competence.

· SEPA recognises the Competency Management Scheme (CMS) administered by Energy Utilities Skills as evidence of technical competence.

· Previous compliance will be considered, as well as experience in management roles at a similar site, both of which will be in the last 5 years.

SEPA generally expect all technically competent persons to have a formal qualification. However, SEPA may make a bespoke assessment of technical competence based on other factors such as experience and the ability to demonstrate the following:

– The waste legislation relevant to their facility

– The documentation required to transfer waste to and from their site

– The duty of care

– What a license and working plan are for

– How to control and minimise all potential pollutants from their site

– How to deal with non-conforming waste loads including special waste

– The infrastructure and technical provisions required for their facility

– The reporting requirements to SEPA

Where a person is deemed technically competent, SEPA must also be satisfied this person will be able to manage the day-to-day activities on the site.

SEPA will always keep under review the extent to which the management of waste activities on-site remains in the hands of a technically competent person, as part of general compliance monitoring and inspections of activities carried out under the site license. SEPA may then take enforcement action if it decides the management of the activities authorised by the license are no longer in the hands of a technically competent person.

(Information obtained: 27th July 2021.)