Since October 2019, in consultation with members and other key stakeholders, we have been conducting a review of our membership grades. As a result of this consultation, a number of changes and enhancements were proposed to our grades structure and, at our AGM in October 2020, members voted in favour of the Special Resolution resulting in minor changes to the Byelaws.
IOSH has since submitted a formal request to Privy Council and has been required to make some further amends to its Regulations and Byelaws on ensuring 100% of members applying through the Experiential Route to Chartered status are assessed by peer interview. This adds increased rigour to the changes Corporate Members voted upon at the AGM last year under the Special Resolution.
As is the case for many other organisations, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced IOSH to take important decisions and steps to adjust, pause and delay some of our planned system implementations, prioritising work that ensures a continuity of service and support to our members, partners, customers, and staff.
In light of this, and as we are still awaiting Privy Council outcome, implementing the changes to the membership grades will be later than anticipated.
Important work continues at pace in the background and good progress has been made on the systems and content required to implement the changes, with extensive user testing planned soon.
Once we receive an outcome from our Privy Council submission, we will be in a more favourable position to confirm launch timings and provide an update on other key developments including the Ethics Certificate, Blueprint 2.0, the new CPD scheme and the associated assessment and transition processes. These are all progressive developments which will significantly enhance the way we support members through their careers.
Got any questions? Have a read through the membership grades review FAQs.
To find out more about the final membership grades structure, please click on the link below.
What does this review mean for my membership status?
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 email@example.com or call us on +44 (0)116 2573198.
Only if you don’t complete your 30 hours of CPD annually and complete the Ethics Certificate.
No. Entry to Certified Membership will be via an appropriate OSH qualification (level 6 or 7) and relevant experience OR APEL through evidence of relevant knowledge and experience. The process to Chartered Membership builds upon the Certified member’s current knowledge, understanding and experience through a supported development process (replacing current IPD). in addition, for those members with significant current knowledge, understanding and experience, they can take the proposed experiential route for Certified and Chartered.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are doing this 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. Since then, the Board of Trustees have agreed that the new membership grades and entry requirements should be implemented.
No. Retired membership will continue as it stands today and you will be recognised as a retired member no longer active.
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 transition period.
Transition is the process of moving from the current membership grades structure to the new membership grades structure. From the date on which the new grades are launched, there will be a 12-month transition period which will enable members to update their CPD and ethics certificate, if required.
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.
We’re working on a transition plan for each grade, but this change requires an amendment to our Byelaws. Members voted to approve this change and other changes to our Byelaws at the AGM, and we will now seek approval from Privy Council. If Privy Council approve the changes, we’ll submit the detailed transition plan to the Board for approval and share it with members as soon as we can. Until then, please bear with us.
‘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.
Assessing competency and experience
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.
Once we receive an outcome from our Privy Council submission, we will be in a more favourable position to confirm launch timings and provide an update on the Blueprint 2.0 tool and other key developments. Important background work, with our systems, processes and content, is progressing at pace and we will keep members updated on progress.
We recognise that communication is key in supporting users and explaining how the enhanced Blueprint will benefit their professional journey. Prior to launch, we will pilot it with a cohort of members 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.
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.
The competencies will be mapped to the new membership grades and built into Blueprint 2.0. The methodology that will be used to map the competencies to the grades is explained in the final membership grade structure, which can be found on the page above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We do not know the detail for this yet however, typically, a candidate’s knowledge is assessed via a work portfolio, professional discussion paper or interview with a subject expert.
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. The experiential route to Chartered is subject to a change to our Byelaws so we await Privy Council’s decision on this.
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 the new system will be introduced. More information will be provided well in advance of any changes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, you can still register on the existing IPD process.
To ensure you are given the fullest opportunity to complete the process you have registered for, and to minimise disruption to members registering and working through IPD, a final deadline date will be set. If you’re not able to complete by the specified date, you would need to be assessed against the new standard, using Blueprint 2.0.
As we move closer towards launching Blueprint 2.0, we are likely to pause registrations so members can transition to, and benefit from, the new system. We will update this FAQ in timings in due course.
Proposed ethics certificate
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.
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.
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.
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 requirements. In the meantime, we would also work with the relevant accredited partner to align the qualification for the future.
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.
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
Board have agreed to hold the annual subscription fee for the current financial year at 2019/20 levels, in recognition of the current economic situation caused by the pandemic. It was keen to ensure that membership is accessible during this difficult time. Board review membership fees annually and they may be subject to change in 2022/23.
For information on current fees including concessionary membership, please follow this link.
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 review and consultation process
We’ve reviewed 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 the membership grades review was 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.
As some changes to the membership grades structure require amendments to our Byelaws, which members voted to accept at the AGM, we’ll await Privy Council’s decision on the changes and update members on the timing of new grades in due course. There will be a transition period of 12 months from the date on which the new grades are launched, to allow members to complete the required CPD and Ethics Certificate (if applicable).
The final membership structure was subject to scrutiny and approval in stages. The Board of Trustees agreed that it should be implemented in full however, some changes required minor amendments to our Byelaws. Members voted to accept these Byelaw changes at the AGM and we will now submit final documents to Privy Council for its approval. Please refer to the timeline which can be accessed via the link in the page below these FAQs. A detailed account of the governance process can be found here.
Important work continues at pace in the background and good progress has been made on the systems and content required to implement the changes, with extensive user testing planned in the near future.
Once we receive an outcome from our Privy Council submission, we will be in a more favourable position to confirm launch timings and provide an update on other key developments which will significantly enhance the way we support members through their careers.
We will update Members as soon as we have received Privy Council’s decision.
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:
- The consultation process is summarised in ’The review so far’.
- You can download the full timeline of the review process here.
Alternatively, please email email@example.com.