Prior to the introduction of the MCS criteria in December 2013, a list of approaches to demonstration of competence by a company wishing to join the scheme were found in various annexes of the relevant MIS documents.
The feedback received at the time, showed that the various approaches were ranging across technologies and also in levels of skills. The information was open to interpretation and whilst the aim was to provide guidance to companies seeking to join the scheme, the detail often created more confusion and inconsistencies were identified on how the information was applied.
This had the potential to jeopardise overall quality and therefore consumer protection. It also had a potential to introduce hidden cost for installer companies having to undertake numerous training/assessment activities and engage consultants to unravel the complexity before them.
Work began on identifying and agreeing the actual criteria a company would be required to reasonably demonstrate competence in a given area. The criteria was directly devolved from the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and aligned with the criteria used for all qualifications at that time delivered under the Quality Credit Framework (QCF). This ensured that MCS was not adding more complexity to what is a very complex arena and ensured that any achievements individuals/companies had at the introduction of the newly published criteria were not necessarily wasted.
Following a number of consultations and industry engagements the criteria was agreed and published in December 2013. This had a published time frame of introduction that took into account new companies and existing registrations and reasonable time frames to comply with new requirements.
MCS also introduced the concept of “Experienced Workers Routes (EWR) as a credible option for companies without recognised formal qualifications and wishing to apply for registrations.
Along with the introduction of the EWR concept and criteria, MCS provided a free on-line tool for companies to complete self-assessments against the newly published criteria. Version 1 of this tool is still used by companies although important feedback received has led to updating the tool and a new version 2 will be published in early 2017.
With the criteria publication in December 2013, MCS outlined that the criteria journey was just beginning and over the coming months/years would work to further improve the clarity behind the criteria. The intention is to maintain quality and consumer protection.
However, MCS believes further inconsistencies can be removed, perceived unforeseen costs reduced, and a perceived burden and bureaucracy reduced by the introduction of a fixed datum point namely the criteria.
MCS has created a clear set of Company Criteria for anyone wishing to look at that level of detail, but once agreed and published provides an easy, clear, concise and consistent approach to demonstration of compliance with it.
Once the new Defined Scopes are published a company will be able to identify either a specific course or qualification that will comply with all or part of the criteria and also an alternative methodology in an Experienced Workers Route (EWR) to demonstrate compliance with the same criteria for those without a recognised formal qualification.
You may be aware, over the summer of 2015, MCS sought to identify and then introduce “Defined Scope” elements to registering within the Scheme.
The concept of Defined Scope is to improve the access to the scheme whilst ensuring that the quality of work delivered and ultimately consumer protection. As MCS seeks to lessen a perceived bureaucracy or burden on companies in meeting the scheme requirements, it has listened to the request from industry to introduce this potential and following numerous consultation including a full Public Consultation in late 2015 has arrived at this point.
Defined Scope Example
MCS agrees that asking a company for demonstration of compliance with competence they never intend to use could lead to reducing the overall quality of the company, as they strive to meet criteria they do not work with could detract from that they do. Therefore the intention of the Defined Scope routes is to provide a robust framework to prevent this.
MCS recognises, multiple Defined Scope routes within any technology could also be counterproductive and create confusion especially to consumers, therefore we intentionally sought comment via the multiple consultations on the Defined Scope, Roles and Company Criteria.
This site outlines the results that have been adopted following those important industry inputs.
We recognise there are many factors that influence the actual criteria and, via this site, have tried to expand on, and further explain some of the deliberations that have brought us to this point.