Developed in collaboration with gas companies across the UK, the Group Competence Scheme (GCS) offers a radically different way for companies to demonstrate gas competence of their registered engineers.
GCS aligns to employers’ existing statutory responsibilities to ensure the competence of their employees. The scheme incorporates the same “matters of gas safety” criteria as ACS and is certificated by a UKAS accredited certification body following an audit of the employer’s GCS management system.
Why choose the Group Competence Scheme?
The GCS approach offers a radically different way for you to demonstrate gas competence of your registered engineers. It aligns to employers’ existing statutory responsibilities to ensure the competence of their employees. The scheme incorporates the same “matters of gas safety” criteria as ACS and is certificated by a UKAS accredited certification body following an audit of the employer’s GCS management system.
GCS offers employers a real choice in how they achieve the re-assessment of employees and incorporates the concept of continuous professional development, rather than reliance on a single “snapshot” assessment every five years.
- As of January 2019, 2,588 engineers on the Gas Safe Register have gone through GCS, with a total of 15,510 qualifications
What is it for?
- To comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act all employers must ensure that their employees are competent to carry out the work they are asked to do
- The Gas Competence Scheme was developed so businesses can use their existing systems and processes to confirm the competence of Gas Safe Registered staff
- Competence is continually assessed (like ISO 9001)
- GCS is endorsed by the Industry Standards Setting Body, and supported by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and the Health and Safety Executive
- Incorporates the same “matters of gas safety” criteria as ACS
What are the Benefits?
- It offers a move away from a “once in five year” snapshot assessment
- Maximises the use of existing management systems and processes
- Is recognised by HSE, Gas Safe Register and UKAS
- Alleviates the stress created by the assessments
- Existing GCS employers report improvements in quality performance by employees
- Moving to GCS offers employers a valuable recruitment and retention advantage
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the GCS a replacement for Gas Safe Registration?
No, you will still need to be Gas Safe Registered, but the GCS is a means of demonstrating to Gas Safe Register
- How often are the field staff audited/assessed to gain their GCS?
They are assessed a minimum once every six months, however on average engineers are having six to eight assessments to gather information and capture their competency (on appliance types). The beauty of the GCS is it can be tailored to suit your business.
- Will it be expensive if I need to have site inspections?
No, as the requirements are spread over the five year cycle and should provide both cost and time savings over the period. More importantly, it ensures your competence and knowledge is maintained. Energy & Utility Skills has a simple calculator available if you want to see how the scheme could be cost effective for your business.
- Can the GCS be used to register an Apprentice instead of them doing ACS at the end of their Apprenticeship?
No. GCS is for the five year renewal of Gas Safe Register required MoGS competences. You must already be Gas Safe registered and hold either a current recognised qualification or valid ACS Certificate in order to be able to use the scheme as your re-assessment mechanism.
- Is the GCS for commercial and domestic use, or domestic only?
The GCS may be used for all work activities and categories covered by Gas Safe Register. This includes domestic, commercial and catering, LPG applications, metering and Emergency Response categories.
- Does the GCS apply to Scotland and Wales?
Yes, GCS applies to the whole of the UK including Northern Ireland; GCS is applicable to all areas that Gas Safe Register covers (i.e. Channel Islands).
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