What benefit will SoBRA registration bring me?
The Society for Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) has developed this registration scheme in order to recognise and reward the technical skills associated with land contamination risk assessment. Other schemes exist for recognising other skills required for the management of land affected by contamination, which can be numerous and multi-disciplinary. In designing a specific risk assessment registration scheme, SoBRA hope to raise the standard and status of risk assessment in the UK, and provide risk assessment professionals a route by which they can demonstrate their competency.
I no longer actively carry out risk assessments, but do review them – does this count as experience?
Yes, the review and understanding of risk assessment, and the application of professional judgement are all highly relevant experience. We would seek to understand from your personal statement and interview your views on the quality of assessments you review, and your judgement as to the issues associated with delivering fit for purpose assessments under UK legislation and guidance, or that relevant of the country to which the work relates. Whichever grade you wish to apply for you just need to demonstrate that you have the appropriate skills (as defined in Appendix B) but without the specific need to routinely produce assessment reports. Your CPD log should be able to demonstrate that you are getting sufficient experience in risk assessments and keeping up to date with any applicable changes within the industry.
What is the fee used for?
SoBRA is a not-for-profit organisation. All monies associated with the SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors will be used to cover costs for the scheme administration and expenses for scrutineers. Any surplus will be used to fund SoBRA bursaries, scholarships and research activities.
What type of supporting evidence can I talk about in my professional report?
Reports, review feedback, critical evaluations, annotated site investigation plans or more complex conceptual site model figures can all be used. Anything that you have produced yourself and that you feel supports your claim that you are competent or accomplished at risk assessment.
I have not specialised in one aspect of risk assessment; will that be an issue?
Not at all! Throughout our careers we move from one area of experience to another and actually becoming a specialist in one aspect of risk assessment can be tricky as we need to deliver the projects available to us.
I am unclear how a regulator or other person who has control over the risk assessment process rather than “working on the shop floor of risk assessment” would qualify.
Evidence of competency is not limited to reports, any critical evaluation of the risk assessment process or guidance can be used to demonstrate competency and understanding of the issues associated with the assessment of risks from Contaminated Land to environmental receptors.
I am concerned that many Local Authority officers that could join the scheme will fall short on some of the requirements e.g. supervising staff or signing off and approving risk assessment reports, however, they will be signing off planning conditions, determining sites and reviewing consultants’ reports.
Regulators use professional, critical judgement to assess the accuracy and appropriateness of reports. When reviewing consultants’ reports they are effectively critiquing these documents. All of these activities are suitable experience.
Independent work on exposure assessments, advice to regulators, attendance and representation on committees and at conferences also all count as relevant experience.
I am not chartered. Can I apply?
Yes, you can apply to be a Registered Risk Assessor with SoBRA (RSoBRA) if you can demonstrate the appropriate experience in land contamination risk assessment and show your commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Chartership is usually required to become an Accredited Risk Assessor with SoBRA (ASoBRA), however, we will consider exceptional instances where the applicant can demonstrate significant experience in risk assessment and a commitment to CPD. For more information on CPD required to support your application see our guidance on recording CPD, and an example CPD Log.
My CPD record is quite limited –What counts as CPD?
Continuing professional development covers all activities that build your technical skills, managerial abilities or scientific knowledge. To count as SoBRA CPD it must be applied to the arena of risk assessment but the aim of a CPD record is to demonstrate development and commitment. Independent work on exposure assessments, complex risk assessment projects as part of your job, advice to regulators, attendance and representation on committees and at conferences can all count as relevant experience for CPD. For more information on CPD required to support your application see our guidance on recording CPD, and an example CPD Log.
I am not a member of a professional organisation. Can I apply?
Yes, you can apply to be a Registered Risk Assessor with SoBRA (RSoBRA) if you can demonstrate the appropriate experience in land contamination risk assessment and show your commitment to CPD. However, membership of a professional body is desirable and would be a valued part of your application as it demonstrates that the applicant subscribes not only to a code of conduct but to a set of professional standards.
How do I record my CPD now I am an Accredited risk assessor?
To maintain your RSoBRA / ASoBRA accreditation, you must demonstrate a commitment to CPD, particularly in relation to brownfield risk assessment. We expect a minimum of 30 hours’ CPD once you have achieved accreditation, please see our guidance on recording CPD and an example CPD log.
There is no prescribed SoBRA CPD reporting format. You may record your CPD using your own recording system (or that of your professional body). If you use a recording template or format specific to a related organisation that you are a member of or are a Chartered Professional with, this can be submitted to SoBRA when your CPD is audited. We would request, however, that you highlight the hours that are relevant to brownfield risk assessment and ensure any reflections on relevant CPD make reference to the discipline(s) for which you hold RSoBRA / ASoBRA.
Does SoBRA audit my CPD?
For all those holding RSoBRA / ASoBRA, SoBRA will request and audit your CPD record every three years on a rolling basis. Unlike other organisations, we do not select a percentage of those holding accredited status to be audited.