The Assessment and Certification Process

Competency assessment is conducted by a ‘Competent Body’.  This is an individual or group of individuals which can demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to perform the necessary assessments of the topic under consideration.

The assessment is divided into two stages: assessment; and, certification (optional).  Both these stages are conducted by a Competent Body.

Stage 1: Assessment of your Competency

A competency assessment should be conducted by a suitably qualified, and independent body – an ‘Assessment Body’.  They will use a ‘competency standard’ to assess an individual or group’s competency.  Competency standards provide a common definition of a competency, with its minimum requirements.

The body will use various methods of assessing competencies, including: self-assessment; performance; examination; and, Interview.  The competency standard will recommend a suitable assessment method.  The best competence assessments are ‘outcome-based’ or ‘evidence-based’, where:

  • the competence is stated and described;
  • assessment criteria for judging performance are listed; and,
  • the level (detail) of performance evidence required for the job is stated.

Assessment is against these outcomes.

The Assessment Body, and the Independent Body (see next) certifying the process, can be the same entity, providing they are a Competent Body, and independence and qualification are demonstrated.

An example of an Assessment Body you can use is the ‘Competence Cub’.  Visit the Competence Club website.

Stage 2: Certification of Your Competency

Competency is assessed by a suitably qualified and independent ‘Assessment Body’.  A further step is ‘certification’. A suitable qualified and independent body – the ‘Independent Body’ – can verify that all stages and aspects of the evidence evaluation and assessments have been fair, safe, complete, valid, reliable, audited, and consistent.

This certification is an optional step in the competency assessment process, but it ensures the qualification is ‘portable’ (the holder can move to other organisations, and the qualification will be recognized by these other organisations).

The Assessment Body (see above), and the Independent Body certifying the process, can be the same entity, providing independence and qualification are demonstrated.

An example of an Independent Body you can use is the Qualification Panel for the Pipeline Industry.


The entire process is summarised in the figure below:

Step 1

You need to know the competencies expected of you.  This means you collate the competencies you need to perform your job.  These competencies will usually be listed in your job description/specification, as a list of tasks you are expected to perform.

Step 2

You need to assess your required competencies against competency standards.  You contact an Assessment Body and ask them for competency standards that cover your required competencies.

An Assessment Body will send you the competency standards you need, if they are available.

Step 3

You perform a ‘self-assessment’.  You self-assess your competences by checking that you have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to perform the tasks expected of you. Each competency standard will list all these items.  If you believe you have these competencies, you then need to have an Assessment Body formally verify your skills, knowledge, and experience, using the competency standards.

Step 4

You ask the Assessment Body to formally assess you and your competencies.  You will need to submit evidence of your academic qualifications, professional qualifications, and your experience to the Assessment Body.

The Assessment Body will verify your skills, knowledge, and experience, using the competency standards, by assessing your qualifications and experience.  The Assessment Body may require a further assessment (e.g., an interview or examination), before verifying your competencies.

Step 5

The Assessment Body will award you a qualification in the competencies you pass.

The Assessment Body can recommend a learning program to help you meet the standards of any competencies you do not pass.

Step 6

You can ask an Independent Body to certify that the processes you have followed are independent, robust, and meet the necessary standards.  This certification ensures your qualifications are ‘portable’ – they will be recognised by other organisations.

Flow Diagram of the steps/stages outlined above