SiLC, SQP and NQMS Update: Spring 2019

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There are now 196 registered SiLCs. The current round of examinations (2019a) has 13 candidates and the previous round (2018b) had 14 candidates. This is somewhat more than the numbers in previous years and indicates that the register is growing and has become a recognised body of professionals who have demonstrated their capability and experience in the brownfield sector. SiLC are the awarding body for the registration of SQPs under the National Quality Mark Scheme (NQMS) and there are currently 97 SQPs.

This obviously indicates that not all SiLCs have taken the online conversion course and exam to become an SQP. You have already demonstrated your capability in order to become a SiLC. The online exam is not intended to retest this but instead is there to ensure you have the additional knowledge to be an SQP. All the information you need is in the slides that form part of the online conversion course.  You have a relatively short step to becoming an SQP.

Most of us have an interest in achieving high standards in the products we deliver to our clients and the services we provide and therefore should be using whatever means are available to us to demonstrate this high standard. The NQMS can do this. Quite a number of clients are reported to be asking for Declarations to be submitted under the NQMS, ie signed off by an SQP. However, it is acknowledged that more publicity of the scheme is needed so that the NQMS becomes more recognised with respect to its benefits. SQPs explaining the benefits of the scheme to their clients will help this.

A number of local authorities are now signposting the NQMS. A selection is presented below;

Staffordshire Local Authorities (9 local authorities) reference NQMS in their developers guide regarding competent people:

Herts & Bedfordshire and Neighbouring Authorities Contaminated Land Forum (17 local authorities) reference NQMS in their guidance regarding competent people:–Recycling/Environmental-Health/Pollution-Control/Herts-and-beds-guidance-revision-2018.pdf

Worcestershire Regulatory Services reference NQMS – WRS recommend SQP appointment for expediency purposes:

Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan – Contaminated Land Supplementary Planning Document – supports the NQMS for land affected by contamination as a desirable component of any work undertaken to deal with land contamination:

One other local authority has stated that “On receipt of a report with the NQMS mark we would hope to find the review of the report to be straightforward and be able to determine it as acceptable ideally without any queries at all”. However, they go on to say that they “will not take the view that this scheme is a means to streamlining the satisfaction of conditions to the point at which a submitted report is accepted without conditions”. It should be pointed out that this is not the aim of the NQMS. Instead it is intended to raise standards and produce a quality that local authorities can rely on to enable them to utilise their resources as they think appropriate. It is hoped that many more local authorities will see the advantage to them of signposting to the NQMS.

As many will know, the Environment Agency have endorsed the scheme and the following give an indication of standard advice on planning application responses suggesting that the NQMS is used:

SiLC Affiliate Scheme      

Becoming chartered is a prerequisite to applying for SiLC Registration. Thus, those that have a specific interest in the brownfield sector and are looking to progress their careers in this direction need to plan for both becoming a full member of their chosen institution as well as becoming a SiLC. To facilitate this, the SiLC Affiliate Scheme has been launched and details are on the SiLC website ( where there is an application guide and an application form. As indicated in the July-August 2018 edition of the AGS eMagazine, the scheme is of interest to graduates and those who have already progressed their careers beyond graduation but not yet become chartered, to work towards full membership and chartered status of a professional body with the assistance of a professional body adviser, and then progress towards SiLC/SQP registration with the assistance of a SiLC mentor. The scheme can be entered at any level. The aim is to provide an integrated process for those on the scheme with clear objectives utilising the Brownfield Skills Development Framework and an early understanding of the purpose and benefits including CPD, the NQMS and the role of an SQP.

Members of the scheme will be designated as SiLC Affiliates, each with a SiLC Affiliate number, thereby demonstrating an individual’s commitment to becoming chartered and, in due course, a SiLC. The annual membership cost of the SiLC Affiliate Scheme is £50 plus VAT and includes 20% discount on the attendance fee for the SiLC Annual Forum.

Development Programme

List of qualifying professional bodies

CIEH            – Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

CIWEM        – Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

GS                – Geological Society

IEMA            – Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment

ICE               – Institution of Civil Engineers

RSC             – Royal Society of Chemistry

Scheme also supported by

AGS             – Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists

If you, or someone you know, think you may be interested in this scheme then ‘check out’ the details on the SiLC website and, if you like what you see, join the scheme.

Article provided by Roger Clark, Director at Marlowclark Consulting Limited