1. Finding & placing of a Reference Indicator
If an investigation (either safety or internal disciplinary) makes significant findings regarding an individual’s competence and/or capability, the Local Area Manager will consider the findings under the scheme. The findings of the safety report or any disciplinary findings will be taken by the LAM as definitive.
If, after considering any representations, the manager decides that an individual has fallen “far below the standard of the reasonably competent gas engineer” then this would amount to a “Competency and Capability Finding” and a “Competency and Capability Reference” would be created. The individual would then have a “Reference Indicator” raised against their EUSR registration. Such a Reference Indicator could only be raised by a Gas Transporter (GT) on the standard set out above.
The process will be transparent and seek to engage with the individual. If a Reference Indicator is raised the individual will be provided with the “Competency and Capability Reference” which would be used for any future reference under the scheme.
2. Competency and Capability Reference as part of the ‘recruitment process’
As part of any application for permission (including by means of employment) to work on a GT’s network, an individual will be asked to confirm their work history, including whether a GT had made a “Competency and Capability Finding” in respect of them. Further, an individual will be asked to consent to a GT checking the EUS register to see if a Reference Indicator exists. Refusal to give consent may lead a GT not to proceed with the application.
Only a very limited number of pre-authorised individuals from each GT (or a third party data processor authorised by a GT under the terms of a data processor agreement) will, subject to stringent safeguards, be able to access any Reference Indicator. There are also mechanisms in place to prevent abuse of the system. If a Reference Indicator exists then a Competency and Capability Reference will be sought from the referring GT. Such checks could be made at any time during or after a decision on recruitment and will be reviewed in that context.
The Reference Indicator would specify whether an individual had been found to have fallen far below the standard of the reasonably competent engineer in Service Laying, in Mains Laying, Escape, Locate and Repair, (“ELR”), a Supervisor, etc. or in all aspects of technical work on a network. It would therefore be possible for an individual to have a Reference Indicator in respect of, for example, Mains Laying but not Service Laying.
Being subject to a Reference Indicator is not a prohibition on working on a network; rather it ensures a GT can make an informed decision about the competency and capability of those working and seeking to work on its network. Transparency and openness is an important part of this process and an affected individual will be kept informed and given an opportunity to make representations before and during any recruitment decision.
3. Removal of the Reference Indicator
A Reference Indicator may be removed from the Register in any of the following circumstances:
- Permission to work on a GT. The individual gaining permission to work on a GT’s network, in circumstances which allows the recruiting GT to remove the Reference Indicator. For example, an individual may demonstrate to the GT that, since the Competency and Capability Finding, training or performed work has been undertaken to address the previous problem (which could occur before or after recruitment).
- Appeal. The individual successfully appeals against the original Competency and Capability Finding either internally or to an External Panel, drawn from appropriately qualified senior personnel in GTs, other than the one that made the original Competency and Capability Finding.
- Review. The individual successfully having the Competency and Capability Finding reviewed by the same External Panel. This review would be on the basis that the individual seeks to demonstrate that the previous deficiencies have been addressed by, for example, subsequently undertaken work, training or other activities.
- A Reference Indicator will be automatically removed from the EUSR website after 10 years. Any application for permission to work on the network following an absence of 10 years would be treated as from a novice so as not to need the safeguards of this scheme.
Employees of Contractors or Sub-contractors
The employees of contractors or sub-contractors engaged by GTs will also be the subject of the scheme. When a contractor or sub-contractor seeks that an operative should work on a participating GT’s network it must make an application to the relevant GT for permission for that individual to work on the network. At that point, the GT Compliance Officer will, having obtained consent from the individual, make a check on the Register, as would be the case with a direct employee, and all other provisions of the scheme would apply as they do to a direct employee. If a Competency and Capability Finding is made, the contractor, sub-contractor and individual would be notified and the individual given the opportunity to make representations so that an informed decision could be made about authorising them to work on the network.
Regarding existing employees of contractors and sub-contractors, each has a legal obligation to report if a dangerous incident occurs. The GT would then, in accordance with its usual procedure, undertake an investigation. The Chairman of an investigation panel which makes a recommendation that a contractor’s competency be reviewed, will refer the matter to the Network’s Compliance Officer. The subject matter of the investigation, with the engagement of the individual where possible, will be referred to the LAM to be considered under the scheme.
It is likely that, in parallel with the GT’s investigation, the contractor and/or sub-contractor would undertake its own disciplinary procedure. The results of the contractor’s and/or sub-contractor’s disciplinary, however, would not be placed in evidence for the LAM’s decision-making under the scheme unless the individual chooses that it should. The provisions relating to appealing against decisions, and to applying for a removal of a Competency and Capability Finding, would apply equally to the employees, employees of any contractor or sub-contractors.
Find Out More
If you have any queries relating to this scheme or EUSR, please contact the EUSR Support team. We are available Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm via email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 0845 077 99 22.