Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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The Registered Consultant scheme

Author:  Simon Richmond
Last Updated:  08/03/2019
AA Registered Consultant

Simon Richmond, Senior Technical Officer, RC Scheme Manager

Following a year of constructive discussion amongst existing Registered Consultants (RCs), the Consultants Working Group and Professional Committee, the Association is now implementing a significant period of development for the scheme.

This is supported by the Board of Trustees, which recognises the need to invest in the scheme in order to improve systems, facilitate and process effective, timely applications for new RCs and maintain the high quality of consultancy services offered by its members.

New Lead Assessor

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Martin Dobson as our new Lead Assessor for the scheme. Martin has been a Registered Consultant for 10 years and has also been one of the team of assessors for scheme applicants, so is very well placed to take on this pivotal role. Martin takes over from Jonathan Fulcher, who kindly stepped into the role as an interim Lead Assessor. We are most grateful to Jonathan for all his help over the last couple of years.

New Liaison Officer

We have also appointed a new Liaison Officer, Adam Hollis, who has some 13 years’ experience in the RC scheme. The Liaison Officer role is vitally important in sharing information and gathering opinion within the group so that development in, and response to, industry issues can be shared and all members have an opportunity to contribute.

Quality assurance

This year we have introduced a new robust but simple quality assurance process. In addition to the current requirement for RCs to provide evidence of annual continuing professional development (CPD) and their mandatory attendance at our annual ‘Standards and Development’ day, we will be scrutinising RCs’ sample reports against the standards applied in the application process.

While this is not onerous for the consultants, as each consultant will only be required to submit reports every five years, it provides an extra level of confidence that the excellent standard they met at application is still being maintained.

External quality assurance auditor

We have appointed an external auditor, from outside the arboricultural industry, to provide scrutiny and advice on our approach to the overall management of the scheme. The auditor will also sit on the panel that manages the sample report assessments.

Aspiring Registered Consultant days

In 2018 we introduced these preparation workshop days at three different venues around the country and they proved highly successful. The days offer an opportunity for those considering application to the scheme to understand how it works, its application process and to meet with others and discuss issues in a friendly and open workshop environment. We have had tremendous support from existing RCs, who have attended and offered their own experience, warts and all, so that attendees can make up their own minds if the scheme is for them. There will be two more Aspiring Consultant days in 2019, in June and October; dates and venues to be announced soon and available on our training website page: www.trees.org.uk/Training.

Future development

During 2019 there will be further work to review how the scheme is currently offered to applicants. There is no intention to change the standard that is expected to qualify as a Registered Consultant, but we will be working with existing RCs, assessors, the Consultants Working Group and Professional Committee, plus individuals with expert knowledge and experience, to carry out this review and identify opportunities to improve and streamline the application process.

Article taken from The ARB Magazine Issue 184 Spring 2019. As a member you can view The ARB Magazine online, simply Log In and view the 'ARB Magazine' tab in your Account Area.