Membership grades review

You talked. We listened.

Since October 2019, we've been conducting a review of IOSH membership grades, in consultation with members and other important stakeholders. The consultation has now ended and we thank all members who contributed their views. 

Special Resolution

The final proposed membership grades structure responded to feedback from members. When invited to comment on the changes in our May survey, the majority of respondents were supportive. Since then, the proposed structure has been through our internal governance process and the Board of Trustees have agreed that it should be implemented in full. Some changes require minor amendments to our Byelaws, which will be considered by vote on a single Special Resolution at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), before being submitted for the approval of Privy Council.

IOSH Council approved the Regulations made by the Board of Trustees to accommodate the conclusions of the membership grades consultation and review for inclusion in our governance documents, and to allow the Board’s Special Resolution to be included in the AGM agenda.

View the AGM agenda, register to attend and vote here

Got any questions? Have a read through the membership grades review FAQs.

To find out more about the final membership grades structure and results of the membership grades survey, please click on the links below.


Next steps

In these final weeks, it’s really important that as many members as possible know and understand the changes we’re proposing, so please encourage those in your network to visit this page. 

Membership grades review FAQs

What does this review mean for my membership status?

Is this going to affect my progression through the grades? Should I wait to upgrade? 

No. Whatever grade you are at now, please don’t stop what you are doing as all the knowledge and skills you acquire will be relevant. For more information on how to upgrade your membership, please email professional.development@iosh.com or call us on +44 (0)116 2573198.

I’m a Chartered Member – might I lose my status? 

Only if you don’t complete your 30 hours of CPD annually and complete the Ethics Certificate.  

I see that Certified and Chartered Members would need a Level 6 or 7 qualification respectively. Have I understood this correctly?

No. The levels included in previous documents are designed to enable flexibility. Some members may have qualifications at the required level while others would be asked to demonstrate competence, hence ‘showing competency at RQF level’. The proposed experiential route (APEL) for Certified and Chartered would also help here.

I am currently an Associate Member, but I understand this grade is in line for deletion. Why is this and what are my options?

Associate members currently represent a very small proportion (just over 1%) of IOSH members and the grade is not widely recognised or understood. Most Associate Members would be eligible to upgrade to Technical Member or Certified Member based on qualifications and experience. If you would like to explore this option now, please email professional.development@iosh.com.

Why are you proposing to change the name for Graduate Member?

We are proposing a name change for Graduate Member because widespread feedback from members, employers and recruiters indicated that the name is misleading, suggesting a lower level of OSH professional. In fact, many Graduate Members are highly experienced. We would therefore expect a significant proportion of current Graduate Members to be eligible for Chartered status. We proposed Certified as one of a number of alternatives in our May 2020 survey and the majority of respondents agreed that it was a suitable replacement.

I am a retired member of IOSH. Would my membership status be affected if the changes you’re proposing are approved?

No. Retired membership will continue as it stands today and you will be recognised as a retired member no longer active.

I'm currently a practicing retired member. Do I need to maintain CPD and the Ethics Certificate?

Yes. If the proposed changes are approved and you wish to continue practicing, you would need to maintain your CPD and Ethics Certificate. We'd provide you with a transition plan and support you through this during the 12-month grace period.

Why have you introduced a new membership grade called Companion?

‘Companion of IOSH’ is, in fact, an award, not a grade. In the past there has been confusion between Chartered Fellow and Honorary Fellow. We are recommending the change from ‘Honorary Fellow’ to ‘Companion’ because we want to make a clear distinction between the grade - Chartered Fellow - and the honorary position of ‘Companion'. It was not easy to identify an alternative to ‘Honorary Fellow', but our benchmarking found that a number of professional bodies use ‘Companion’ and we feel it is an effective title.

I’m an Honorary Fellow. Will I automatically become a Companion of IOSH?

We’re working on a transition plan for each grade but cannot finalise this until we know the outcome of the AGM. If the Special Resolution achieves a yes vote at the AGM and the changes to Byelaws are subsequently approved by Privy Council, we’ll submit the detailed plan to the Board for approval and share it with members as soon as we can. Until then, please bear with us.


Assessing competency and experience

How will competency be assessed?

Competency will be assessed through Blueprint 2.0, the next generation of our self-assessment tool, which will be mapped to the updated competency framework. When you’ve worked through the self-assessment, you’ll receive a Personal Development Plan to help you prioritise your learning. You’ll also be signposted to guides and resources to help you. Ultimately, Blueprint 2.0 will be central to a greatly improved professional journey, giving you seamless access to development resources and auto-populating parts of your CPD record. More information about this will follow soon.

When will Blueprint 2.0 launch?

We plan to launch Blueprint 2.0 in Spring 2021. We had hoped it would be ready now, but work was paused while we focused our attention on supporting members through the pandemic. As the software will assess competencies mapped to IOSH grades, we have decided to schedule the final development work once we know the outcome of the AGM, to ensure everything is aligned with the decision of the voting membership. The new generation of Blueprint, integrated with CPD, will be a significant enhancement to our members’ professional journey and we want to launch it with confidence that it reflects the views of our members.

Blueprint will be new to a lot of members. How will you introduce and explain it?

We recognise that communication is key in supporting users and explaining how the enhanced Blueprint will benefit their professional journey. We will pilot it with a cohort of members later this year and use feedback to inform our approach to resources, such as explainer videos and FAQs. Rest assured we are planning in the necessary resource to help members adopt Blueprint.

What is the competency framework and how will it affect my progression through the grades?

The IOSH competency framework sets out the competencies required by OSH professionals today at different stages in their career. It was updated in 2019 and covers 12 areas of competency in three categories – technical, core and behavioural. Your Blueprint self-assessment will inform your Personal Development Plan which will, in turn, drive your progress through the grades.

How will I know which competencies I need at what level for my grade?

The competencies will be mapped to the membership grades and built into Blueprint 2.0. We will finalise this when we know the outcome of the AGM. In the meantime, we explained the methodology that will be used to map the competencies to the grades in the document with the final membership grade structure, which has now been agreed. This can be found on the page above.

Do I need to be able to demonstrate all 69 competencies?

Not necessarily. The answer will depend on the grade you’re at, or targeting. As explained in the document with the final membership structure, in most instances, the standard will require a combination of ‘essential’ and ‘complementary’ competencies. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate the ‘essential competencies’ on entry to the grade. ‘Complementary competencies’ will be for development, to prepare you for the next grade, if you wish to progress.

What does ‘competency at RQF level’ mean?

This refers to the ‘Regulated Qualifications Framework’ which categorises qualifications in England, based on the level of challenge or difficulty. Other countries or regions have regulated frameworks such as Malaysia, South Africa and UAE and these have comparisons with the English and European qualifications frameworks so it is easy to see where IOSH fits locally. Links to information about qualification levels in Scotland, Wales and Europe can be found via www.gov.uk.

How will experience be assessed?

This review of membership grades is all about maintaining standards and enhancing the sector, so we’ve given careful consideration to the assessment of experience. The recommendation for a new experiential route to Chartered Membership is designed to remove a barrier to entry for OSH professionals who are already operating in a senior strategic role within OSH management, and have extensive on-the-job experience, but might not have an OSH qualification. The assessment process would combine the new Blueprint 2.0 self-assessment with CPD and completion of IOSH’s Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) assessment. This rigorous approach would ensure that only candidates with evidence of the appropriate knowledge, competence and experience are approved for entry.

What is APEL?

Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) assessment is our proposed approach to assessing experience. It is a process where credit is given for learning which has not previously been assessed and accredited by an academic institution (typically a University) or professional organisation such as IOSH. It is learning acquired from a range of experiences and is often unstructured, personal and unconsciously gained. Skills, knowledge and abilities that come with this type of learning, however, can be equal to those gained by students following traditional courses through formal educational institutions.

How will IOSH’s APEL be assessed?

We do not know the detail for this yet as it can only be developed if the proposed structure is approved. However, typically, a candidate’s knowledge is assessed via a work portfolio, professional discussion paper or interview with a subject expert.

I’d like to enter via the experiential route at Chartered, using the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning Assessment (APEL). Will I also need to complete Blueprint?

Yes. Blueprint will be the first step for all applicants/members. The self-assessment will provide an initial indication of what your membership journey could be. One route could be the APEL assessment and the process will direct you from there.



Will IOSH CPD be affected by the membership grades review?

Only in a positive way, because as part of our work to enhance the way we support professional development, we will be launching a new CPD scheme and system, aligned with our updated competency framework. CPD will remain a mandatory process which must be completed by members whose grades have a mandatory requirement of 30 hours annual CPD. We encourage members to keep their CPD updated on the current platform until Spring 2021, when the new system will be introduced. More information will be provided in advance of any changes. 

What will I have to do to maintain my CPD?

In the new structure, Blueprint will help you focus on your learning, development and progression. You’ll need to complete 30 hours of CPD annually, to include reflective statements. If you are a Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow, your CPD would also include passing or maintaining the IOSH Ethics Certificate. This will all be held in Blueprint.  

What will happen if I do not complete the required CPD?

We are keen to avoid sanctions where possible, and will therefore support members through their transition plan, to complete the required CPD.  However, in order to maintain standards, there will be sanctions for members who do not maintain their CPD record. In the new, approved structure, Technical Members, Certified Members, Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows, who do not complete the required CPD will revert to Affiliate unless there are mitigating circumstances.

Why would such senior grades have to drop back as far as Affiliate if they fail to complete the required CPD? Why can’t they just drop one grade?

CPD is a professional requirement for Technical, Certified, Chartered and Chartered Fellows, as set out in IOSH’s byelaws and regulations. It remains mandatory and, in the new structure, involves 30 hours of development time every year. In order to maintain the standard, members at these grades who do not comply with CPD requirements will need to revert to a level of membership where it is not a mandatory requirement, hence Affiliate. Of course, if a member is struggling to complete their CPD for personal reasons, we would encourage them to get in touch before it becomes a pressing issue, so we can provide support and discuss the way ahead.

You state that 30 hours of CPD per year will be required for all post nominal grades. This seems a lot to ask. How does it compare with other Chartered bodies?

Our benchmarking research indicates that the CPD time commitment for other bodies ranges from 20 to 50 hours per year. Every organisation structures it slightly differently but we believe 30 hours is a suitable commitment to ensure continuing professional development.

Does IOSH have specific CPD courses in mind that are required for the various levels of membership?

No. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a lifelong process of improvement through recognising, recording and reflecting on learning experiences. Relevant CPD will be different for all members. Guidance and support will be provided with the launch of the new CPD scheme and there'll be a range of CPD resources to support the new competencies, many of which will be available through the new version of Blueprint.


Is it too late to register for IPD?

No. You can still register. However, we are proposing that registrations are paused in November 2020, pending the final outcome of the membership grades review. If you register before November, please refer to the answer below.

I’m part-way through my IPD. How will this be affected by the proposed changes?

We want to minimise disruption to members working through IPD. A date would be set, allowing you the opportunity to complete the process you registered for. If you’re not able to complete by the specified date, you would need to be assessed against the new standard, using Blueprint.


Proposed ethics certificate

I see you are planning to introduce a new Ethics Certificate. What does this involve and why is it only applicable for Chartered and Fellows?

Work to scope this would form part of the implementation phase of the review. Ethical practice is extremely important for all OSH professionals in ensuring public trust and upholding the reputation of the profession. We are looking to make this a requirement for our Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows in particular, as we expect them to lead the profession by demonstrating the highest standards of professional conduct at work and in their dealings with the public. More information will be developed as we start to shape and build the new processes. 

Why do you feel the need to introduce an Ethics Certificate when ethics are already covered in the Code of Conduct?

The IOSH Code of Conduct commits members to the IOSH vision for a world of work that is safe, healthy and sustainable. It provides an ethical foundation for members working towards this vision. The IOSH Ethics Certificate, which is supported by e-learning, will provide members with up to date and relevant content on ethical considerations that affect organisations and the OSH profession in the widest sense.

Will I have to pay for the Ethics Certificate?

As mentioned above, we have not developed this yet. We envisage that it would be part of your CPD package at no additional charge but cannot confirm that yet. As soon as we have more information, we will share it with members.



Will I need to acquire new qualifications to stay Chartered?

No. However, we are currently reviewing all IOSH-accredited qualifications, as part of our WORK 2022 strategy.  Now the membership structure has been agreed, we’ll need to map qualifications to the new grades, to ensure they’re aligned. If any gaps are identified, we would support enrolled learners through a transition plan to help them meet the new requirement for Chartered within the 12-month grace period from the date on which the new grades are implemented. In the meantime, we would also work with the relevant accredited partner to align the qualification for the future.

I’m part-way through a qualification. Will it still be accepted if the proposed changes are approved?

Yes. So, if you’re studying a course aligned with your level of membership, don’t stop! As mentioned above, we are currently reviewing all accredited qualifications, but no member will be penalised.

Will the new grades recognise international qualifications?

We currently recognise international qualifications as entry points to membership, as our accredited education partners are based all over the world.  If there is a call for additional qualifications to be recognised, this will be looked at as part of the implementation phase of the membership grades review. 


General questions about membership

Will the cost of membership change?

We don’t know yet.  During the implementation phase, we will look at our pricing strategy to see if changes need to be made. This decision is made by our Board of Trustees. Their main concern is to ensure that our membership fees provide value for money, no matter what type of member you are. For instance, in the past year, we have been asked by members and Councillors to review whether our pricing strategy could be differentiated to members in emerging economies as current fee levels are prohibitively high. The Board will look at this and member benefits as part of the next annual fee review.  

Will membership of a relevant Chartered institution aligned with OSH deliver any benefit to IOSH members? i.e. points towards CPD?

Not initially. It is something that we may consider in future, but our priority will be to establish the new membership grade structure and ensure that it is understood by employers, recruiters and other key stakeholders such as accredited partners.


The final vote

Given the need for social distancing, will the AGM be staged virtually?

Yes, this year’s AGM will be virtual. Amendments to Regulation 7 have been approved by the Board of Trustees and Council, to accommodate this.

What exactly will be put to the vote at the AGM?

The Board of Trustees have agreed that the proposed membership grades structure, which reflects feedback from the 12-month membership grades review, should be implemented in full. In order to properly apply the outcomes of the review, we’re asking Corporate Members to vote on a single Special Resolution to enable a number of small but significant changes to our Byelaws, subject to the approval of Privy Council.

What are the changes being proposed to the Byelaws?

There are four. For more information, please see ‘Special Resolution explained’ on the page above.

Who gets to vote?

All Corporate members are entitled* to vote. For the sake of clarity, Corporate Members are Chartered Members, Chartered Fellows, Retired Members and Retired Fellows. The latter two categories of members are former Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows who have retired from health and safety practice and who are no longer undertaking CPD.


*No Corporate Member shall be entitled to attend or vote at a General Meeting whilst he/she is in default for a period of sixty days or more in respect of any financial liability to the Institution.

How will voting work at the virtual AGM?

Corporate members will be able to use their vote by appointing the Chair of the Meeting as their proxy and indicating how they wish their vote to be cast at the meeting. In accordance with Regulation 7, voting will close 24 hours before the AGM, at 16.00 (GMT) on 26 October. More information about this and how the AGM will be run, will be available on the IOSH AGM web page from 5 October and detailed in the Notice being sent from Mi-Voice, the specialist partner managing the AGM process.

Who can attend the virtual AGM?

Any member may attend and speak (virtually) at the AGM. All members must register to attend. Registrations will be accepted up to a maximum of 3000 attendees, therefore it is important that members only register if they are committed to attending. More information about this and how you can register, can be found on the IOSH AGM web page.

How will questions be managed?

As this is a virtual AGM, any member registered to attend and wishing to ask a question relating to a resolution must submit that question in advance when they register to attend the AGM. If the question relates to the proposed Byelaw changes, we ask that members first read the ‘Special Resolution – Membership Grades Review’ PDF and the FAQs here. Questions raised will be addressed and published on the AGM IOSH webpage in advance of the meeting. Any member wishing to submit a question must do so by 19 October.

Has IOSH Council had a vote in this process?

Council do not have a vote on the detail of the membership structure, however Council supported the need for the membership grades review process and has received detailed briefings on the process, results and conclusions of the review, at and outside of formal Council meetings. Council members have also taken part in dedicated consultation focus groups.


Council play a vitally important role in representing members’ views within the governance process and we have been very grateful for the extra time they have taken to oversee and take part in the review.


Council does have a vote relating the approval of Regulations and therefore at the Council meeting on 24 September, Council was informed that the Board of Trustees had agreed that the recommendations of the review would be implemented and approval for associated Regulation changes was sought and received.  


In accordance with our Byelaws, Council also approved the Special Resolution regarding Byelaw amendments for inclusion on the agenda at the AGM. This Special Resolution seeks to enable through the agreement of Corporate members, a number of small but significant changes to our Byelaws. The changes to the Byelaws will allow us to properly apply the outcomes of the review.   


The review and consultation process

Why are you reviewing IOSH’s membership grades and why now?

We’re reviewing our membership grades in line with our charitable objects and strategic goal to enhance the global occupational safety and health profession, as part of IOSH’s WORK 2022 strategy. The world of work has changed significantly since our grades were last set (in 2006) and OSH professionals are faced with more complex challenges, which require a broader set of skills, knowledge and behaviours.  That’s why we’ve updated the competency framework and this membership grades review is the logical next step, which feels even more timely in light of the global pandemic. Employers and employees will be relying on OSH professionals more than ever to navigate the ‘new normal’ in the workplace so it’s vital that IOSH grades are current and relevant.

What is changing and when?

Nothing is changing yet. The membership structure has been approved by the Board of Trustees, and both it and Council have approved the Regulation changes required to adopt the new structure. The penultimate piece of governance is for Corporate Members to vote on a Special Resolution concerning the knock-on changes from this approval that are required within IOSH’s Byelaws. If changes are approved at the AGM and then, finally, by Privy Council, the new membership grade structure would be implemented in Spring 2021. There would be a grace period of 12 months, to allow members who don’t immediately meet the required standard for their grade to work through a personal transition plan.

What is the process for scrutiny and approval of any changes?

The final proposed membership structure has been subject to scrutiny and approval in stages. Please refer to the timeline which can be accessed via the link in the page above these FAQs.

What does transition mean?

Transition is the process of moving from the current membership grades structure to the new membership grades structure. From April 2021, when the new membership grades structure is implemented, there will be a 12-month transition period which will enable members to update their CPD and ethics certificate, if required. 

How will I know what I need to do during the 12-month transition period, in order to retain my membership?

When the new membership grades structure is implemented, every member will receive a communication outlining their personal transition plan. This plan will set out their individual requirements for the 12-month transition period. 


Still got questions that we haven’t covered in the FAQs or the common misconceptions in the ‘Results of the membership grades survey’ document? You may also find these documents useful:

Alternatively, please email grades@iosh.com.